Issue 16-223: Post-Secondary Education

November 23, 2016

Total enrolment in public postsecondary institutions in British Columbia decreased 1.7% in the 2014/2015 academic year. Enrolments declined at the same pace for male and female students (each down 1.7%), though female enrolment remains consistently higher overall. While full-time enrolment saw a moderate boost (+6.8%), part-time (-11.0%) enrolment was down notably. B.C. universities saw an enrolment decrease of 1.2% in 2014/15, while colleges saw enrolment slip 2.7%.

Despite the decline in enrolment, the number of graduates of B.C. public postsecondary institutions swelled 1.7% in the 2014/2015 academic year. The rise in the number of male graduates (+3.7%) outpaced that of female graduates (+0.1%). College graduation increased 2.0%, slightly above the 1.5% rise in university graduation.

Nationally, enrolment in public postsecondary institutions inched up 0.3% in the 2014/2015 academic year. Enrolment was down in six provinces, but boosts in some of the more populous provinces, namely Quebec (+1.2%) and Ontario (+1.0%), offset overall declines. New Brunswick (-7.3%), B.C. (-1.7%) and Alberta (-1.4%) saw the most notable downturns in enrolment. Much of the decrease at the national level was recorded in programs in humanities (-4.5%), personal, protective and transportation services (-1.6%), and education (-1.5%). Conversely, enrolment was up in several other program areas in 2014/2015, including mathematics, computer and information sciences (+6.8%), architecture, engineering and related technologies (+4.8%), and health and related fields (+2.4%).

The number of graduates of public postsecondary institutions in Canada rose 3.2% in the 2014/2015 academic year, supported by increases in all but two provinces: New Brunswick (-4.8%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.7%). Institutions in P.E.I. (+9.1%), Quebec (+5.7%) and Nova Scotia (+3.9%) saw the strongest upticks in number of graduates. Programs in architecture, engineering and related technologies (+8.1%), physical and life sciences, and technologies (+5.6%), and health and related fields (+4.6%) recorded the most substantive increases.

Data Source: Statistics Canada