Volume 96, Issue 11
Tuesday September 17, 2002

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Students leaving provincial nest?

By Derek Rhodenizer
Gazette Staff

While top students will be staying in Ontario, average students may have more difficulty entering the world of higher education due to the upcoming double cohort.

Despite fears that out of province universities and colleges will draw many of the double cohort students out of Ontario, officials stress the province will not suffer from a brain drain.

"The best students will stay in Ontario," explained David Robinson, associate director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, adding many of the larger scholarship opportunities are found in Ontario.

"The difficulty will be for those academically qualified students who have [trouble] getting into universities," Robinson said. Large, metro universities are going to see a big increase, while smaller universities will not see as large a difference in enrollment, he added.

According to Robinson, students who do not get into Ontario's larger universities will have to choose between smaller universities or out of province institutions.

"It is hard to predict what the effect will be. The majority of students historically go to the nearest university, but now this may change," said Leo Charbonneau, media relations officer for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

"There may be an increased financial burden for students that can no longer attend local universities," Robinson explained.

"There [are more inquiries] from students towards out of province schools," said Allison Singleton, head of guidance at Beal Secondary School, noting out of province schools are also looking to recruit within Ontario.

"We are not dealing with a double cohort, but an increased cohort," said Lori Gribbon, manager of undergraduate admissions and liaison services at Western.

"This is a three-year phenomena," Gribbon said, explaining students who have fast-tracked or stayed in high school an extra year are alleviating the cohort.

"The enrollment for first-year students at Western's main campus as well as affiliates in 2001-02 was 5,512, while the projected numbers for the 2003-04 academic year is 6,420," Gribbon said, noting this is a large jump over three years, but only a small increase from the 6,010 enrolled during the current academic year.

"We are not expecting a huge growth in next year's enrollment. We want to maintain our quality of education," Gribbon said, adding after a three-year increase, student enrollment is expected to remain steady.

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2002 THE GAZETTE