Queen’s exceeds enrolment target

University enrolment is over target by 226; target will increase to approximately 23,000 next year

Queen’s went over its enrolment target for 2014-15 by more than 200 students.
Queen’s went over its enrolment target for 2014-15 by more than 200 students.

According to the 2014-15 Enrolment Report submitted to Senate in December, Queen’s slightly exceeded its enrolment target for this academic year.

With an enrolment target of 21,441 students for 2014-15, Queen’s has an actual headcount of 21,667 students.

By 2016, the University will see enrolment increase to approximately 23,000 students.

Alan Harrison, provost and vice-principal of academics, told the Journal via email that the University is prepared for the higher number of students coming into the school.

“Multi-year planning ensures the university is prepared for, and responsive to, changes in enrolment, as well as program and student population mix,” he said.

Harrison said the University will accommodate increased enrolment with 550 beds in two new residences, 18 more common rooms and a new food outlet on campus.

“Any planned increase in first-year enrolment will be more than accommodated by the two new residences,” he said.

According to the report, the University implemented targeted recruitment and outreach activities to increase Aboriginal enrolment beginning in 2011-12.

Since then, Aboriginal enrolment has increased by 93 per cent.

Harrison said these recruitment and outreach activities include school and community visits, attendance at educational and career fairs for Aboriginal youth, targeted social media campaigns and partnerships with community groups.

Applications from self-identified Aboriginal students have increased by 30 per cent so far, and for the academic year of 2015-16, Harrison said that percentage is up.

Harrison said increasing the enrolment of international students at Queen’s has been a priority for the University. Queen’s is looking to increase the proportion of international undergraduate students to 10 per cent of the undergraduate population.

“Queen’s aims to strengthen its international prominence by supporting the engagement of students, staff and faculty in international learning and research, both at home and abroad,” he said.

In the 2014-15 academic year, there are 1,963 undergraduate and graduate international students, who make up 8.3 per cent of the Queen’s population.

In order to increase international enrolment for coming years, Harrison said the University is developing a comprehensive international plan that will focus on research engagement, international student and faculty mobility, student recruitment and internationalization at home.

Harrison said the University has a full-time recruiter based in Shanghai, and that undergraduate admission staff visit high schools and attend post-secondary fairs across Canada, as well as in seven U.S. states, India, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Turkey, as part of their international recruitment activities.

The university also has “webinars” for prospective students who can’t come to campus, which were introduced in the fall.

Harrison said overall, growing enrolment is a positive thing, as it will help protect financial stability for the university and allow for further investment in areas like faculty renewal and student services.

“Given the declining demographic of university aged applicants in Ontario, our position reflects continued strong demand for our programs and our unique student living and learning experience,” he said.

AMS Academic Affairs Commissioner Colin Zarzour said although it’s not necessarily a positive thing when universities are under or over their enrolment targets, it’s incredibly difficult for Queen’s to predict enrolment numbers in the first place.

Zarzour, ArtSci ’15, said he disagrees with Harrison that the new residences will be enough to accommodate the larger number of students enrolling at Queen’s.

He also said the University isn’t hiring enough faculty members to accommodate increased enrolment, echoing a White Paper on enrolment drafted by current AMS President Allison Williams and released by the AMS in Oct. 2013.

“If we want to continue increasing enrolment as a university, if we have to do that, we need to acknowledge that other things need to scale appropriately,” Zarzour said.

“That includes student services and support like the shared services — obviously HDCS is a big one on students’ minds.”

— With files from Natasa Bansagi

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