Record enrolments seen at Canadian universities
Trend despite increased tuition; some groups still face access barriers
TORONTO – Despite increased tuition fees and higher entrance requirements, a new study by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation has found Canadians are enrolling in universities and colleges in record numbers.
Enrolment has grown by more than 20 per cent in the past five years, according to the report entitled The Price of Knowledge 2004: Access and Student Finance in Canada.
News reports state that about 1.7 million full-time or part-time students are enrolled in post-secondary institutions but access is still a challenge for some Canadians.
The report found that groups already under-represented in universities and college, like low-income Aboriginal students, continue to have difficulty accessing studies. In fact, student from high-income families are more than twice as likely to go to university than their low-income counterparts.
While the Foundation claims high enrolment is good new for Canada, which needs an educated workforce, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) said the higher enrolment numbers reflect the fact most students in Canada are protected by tuition freezes.
In the Globe and Mail, the CFS Ontario chairman Jesse Greener enrolment has typically stagnated during periods of tuition increases and that for the report to ignore the main barrier to higher education – finances – is “a misrepresentation of the facts”.