Students pick Concordia

Karen Herland

Photo by IITS Creative Media Services

The official university enrolment numbers for Quebec have been released, and Concordia is attracting students.

The numbers released by CREPUQ (Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec) indicate an overall dip in undergraduate enrolment across the province, and an increase in graduate enrolment. This is reflected in Concordia’s figures.

The numbers break things down by academic cycle and full- and part-time studies.

Concordia has almost double the provincial average increase for brand-new full-time undergraduate students.

“We are clearly attracting new people,” said Brad Tucker, Director of Institutional Planning. “Of our sister universities in Montreal, only McGill and Concordia showed an increase in new full-time, undergraduate students.”

Concordia also experienced an increase in graduate students, especially at the PhD level, well above the provincial trend. “We have been trying to attract doctoral students, and we are being successful,” Tucker said.

He added that these figures hold few surprises for Concordia’s administration. “We know our application, acceptance and registration numbers and we monitor them closely. We try to bring them up when we lag behind.”

The number of master’s level students did not increase at the rate that the university had hoped. In fact, although the number of part-time master’s students are up, the overall number is down. But the reason may be the current international situation and the stricter controls on travel.

“Student visas are difficult to get. This has had an impact on some faculties.”

These numbers ultimately affect the overall financial health of a university, and not just in terms of tuition revenue. Provincial subsidies are calculated based on full-time equivalencies (FTEs, a calculation that divides the total number of credits by 30 to establish what equivalency of full-time students the university is serving at any given time). The province creates a formula in which FTEs in different faculties, and at different levels of education determines the financial transfer to the university.

Tucker said that our ratio of graduate to undergraduate FTEs has increased by a full percentage point over last year. This year, 13.6 per cent of Concordia’s current FTEs are graduates, compared with 12.5 per cent for last year. “It’s possible that this direction will work to our advantage and help us move ahead,” Tucker said.

Some uncertainty rests in the fact that the government still has not released its final funding decisions for the 2005-2006 academic year. “All Quebec universities are challenged by the current financial climate. We all feel the effects of underfunding, and our planning efforts are seriously disadvantaged by the actual funding being known too late to inform our operational decisions,” Tucker said.