Enrolment has potential

New committee to look at increasing Queen’s enrolment

The University is looking into establishing a planning committee to propose a new enrolment strategy by spring 2013, says Provost Alan Harrison.

Currently, the University abides by a yearly enrolment strategy that is passed at Board of Trustees in May. The current 2012 Queen’s budget report already projects an estimated increase of 669 students by 2014.

The new enrolment strategy could see a greater focus on long-term enrolment planning.

“We are in the early stages of developing a plan but I haven’t yet had a first meeting with the group to be reviewed,” Harrison said.

An expected increase of provincial government funds could eventually lead to an estimated 13,000-14,000 new post-secondary students in Ontario, he noted.

In 2011, the Ontario government announced that $309 million will be dedicated to the post-secondary education sector by 2015-16.

The additional revenue is expected to create 60,000 new spaces in Ontario post-secondary institutions, raising enrolment rates to 70 per cent of Ontarians. Enrolment in post-secondary institutions in Ontario is expected to increase by up to 1.7 per cent a year through 2017-18.

This year, applications to Queen’s grew by approximately 2 per cent from last year.

Harrison said the University could receive more revenue if there are more post-secondary students in Ontario.

“We’re looking at that and considering what it will mean, for instance, if we maintain that share of [new] students in Ontario.”

At Board of Trustees in September, a motion was passed to devise construction plans for two new residences on campus. The buildings will accommodate approximately 550 first-year students and have an expected completion date of fall 2015.

Harrison added that the proposed new residences won’t necessarily lead to an increase of student enrolment.

“You can’t grow without a new residence, but you don’t have to grow if you have a new residence,” he said.

Harrison said the University will only consider expanding undergraduate student enrolment in the event that provincial government funding comes through as expected. He added that increasing international student enrolment is still a viable option to increase revenue for the University.

“There is a desire on the part of the board which has been articulated in the commitment made by the Principal which is modest increases in international recruitment,” he said. “That would be the only situation you would see an increase without government funding.”

— With files from Rachel Herscovici

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