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March 28, 2012
For immediate release

Enrolment up in Maritime universities despite decrease in number of local students

Innovation and Advanced Learning


(Fredericton, NB) – Despite a decrease in the number of Maritimers in the region’s universities, the total number of students has increased in recent years. According to statistics released today by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, the growth in enrolment in Maritime universities has been fuelled by an increase in the number of students from outside the region as well as an increase in the number of graduate programs.

“Maritime residents represent a shrinking share of university students,” said Mireille Duguay, CEO of the Commission. “The recruitment of students from outside the Maritimes over the last few years has offset the decline in the number of Maritimers.”

Over 30 percent of students are from outside the region, up from about 20 per cent 10 years ago.

International students represent one of the fastest growing groups of students in Maritime universities, increasing nearly 14 per cent in 2010-11 over the previous year, and 150 per cent over ten years.

Maritime universities have also seen a strong growth in the numbers of students studying at the Master’s and PhD levels. Graduate student enrolment in Maritime universities has increased 46 per cent in the last 10 years.

“Although the total number of Maritimers has decreased, that decrease could have been much larger except that many are choosing to complete more than one degree,” said Ms. Duguay. “Most Maritime universities have expanded their graduate program offerings in the last 10 years and their efforts are paying off. One out of every seven university students is now studying at the graduate level in the Maritimes, compared to one in ten a decade ago.”

At the undergraduate level, the number of Maritime residents enrolled in the region’s universities decreased 7% since 2000-01. Much of the decline in undergraduate home province enrolment has occurred over the last five years, and largely concentrated in New Brunswick (a 12 per cent decrease) and in Nova Scotia (an 11 percent decrease), while remaining fairly stable in Prince Edward Island (up 3 per cent).

The Annual Digest: Enrolment and Credentials Granted - 2010-2011 presents a series of summary tables and charts of provincial-level statistics for all 16 publicly funded Maritime universities, showing trends over one, five and 10 year intervals. Each summary table links to a detailed enrolment or credentials granted table, with a breakdown at the institutional level, available from the MPHEC website (

The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission was established in 1974 to help institutions and governments enhance the post-secondary learning environment. The commission's 20 members are drawn from the Maritime provinces, and represent higher education institutions, provincial governments and the general public.

Media Contact: Island Information Service
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