- Enrolment down this fall at the University of Windsor
Enrolment down this fall at the University of Windsor
The number of graduate students was up this fall, but it wasn’t enough to prevent overall enrolment from dropping by 464 students at the University of Windsor this fall compared to a year ago.
Undergraduate enrolment declined by 703 students while an increasing number of international students in its masters’ programs helped increase full-time graduate student enrolment by 240 students. The number of part-time students (undergrad and graduate students) was unchanged at 2,013.
Total enrolment at the school this fall, as of Nov. 1, was 15,557 students.
“We’re in an era where the demographics are shifting and it’s changing the makeup of our campus,” said University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman.
“The numbers of domestic undergrad students is down, but our international graduate students are growing by a couple hundred each year. It’s a trend that stands out in the province as a bit unique.”
This year there are about 2,700 international students registered at Windsor.
Wildeman said the school has been able to leverage the fact it has a number of professional programs not normally found at similar-sized universities into an advantage in international recruiting.
The upside for the university is international students generate higher revenues per capita than domestic students.
“The fees international students pay are higher and that has helped mitigate the loss of domestic undergraduate students,” said Wildeman, who added the school has aggressively upped its recruiting to draw more students both domestically and internationally.
In breaking down the enrolment figures, the faculty of education and the faculty of arts, humanities and social science saw the largest declines. Wildeman termed their combined losses in the hundreds of students.
The faculty of humanities, arts and social science accounted for 44 per cent of the student population in 2010, but now represents 34 per cent of the student body. At the same time, engineering has grown from nine to 15 per cent.
“Employers still value the skills of critical thinking and problem solving students develop in the humanities,” Wildeman said. “The university has no intention of abandoning those programs.”
However, lower enrolment has a direct relationship to the budget and these trends will prompt a shift in how the university prepares its budgets.
Wildeman said budgets will better reflect those shifting realities on campus.
“We want to develop a model where the resources and expenses of the institution are allocated in a way that reflects the activity going on,” said Wildeman, who will explain more fully how the new model will work in the new year.
“The new model will enable us to respond more efficiently to these changes. We don’t have the mechanisms to do that right now.”
The plan is to build in some “shock absorbers” for programs that are shrinking and provide them with incentives that will help them grow their enrolment rather than simply gut their budgets.
Wildeman also confirmed the university has no plans to pursue a $73-million renovation of the St. Denis Centre after a referendum on a financing plan was voted down by one of the three student groups last week.
“The complex is not going forward,” Wildeman said.
“If all three student groups support it in the future, then it could be re-visited. It’s entirely up to the students.”
However, if there is an attempt at holding another referendum, Wildeman said the entire process must start from scratch to ensure the business case is still sound.