BRANDON – The academic year starts soon, and Brandon University is on track for its seventh straight year of solid enrolment growth. There will be more students on campus, taking more classes this fall.
The latest numbers, from mid-August, show that registration numbers are up by 3 per cent this year, compared to the same point in 2018. The number of credit hours that students are enrolled in is also up, by 2.1 per cent compared to the same point a year ago.
Indigenous and international students are leading the way, with an 8.6 per cent increase in the number of self-declared Indigenous students this year, and a 5.3 per cent rise in the number of international students when compared to figures from mid-August last year.
The data also suggests that more students are sticking with their BU education, as the increase appears to be the result of better retention.
Retention rates have increased dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2014, less than two-thirds of first-year students returned for their second year at BU, but by last year, more than three-quarters did.
“Our commitment to supporting students, including through academic advising, helps students succeed in their transition to post-secondary,” said BU Dean of Students Katie Gross.
“Anecdotally, we also hear that more students are choosing to stay at BU rather than transfer to another university to finish their degree.”
The increased retention rate has more than made up for a decrease in the number of first-time students registered so far this year. However, the drop in first-time registrations is something the University is watching closely.
“A dip in first-year registrations is something that will affect us in the future, as this cohort goes through the rest of their degrees,” said University Registrar Andrea McDaniel. “We continue to watch registrations and are always looking at better ways to attract and keep students. This incoming class is near the same size as recent years.”
With classes to begin in less than two weeks, registration so far this year is 3,337 students, compared to 3,241 students in mid-August 2018. Registration numbers will continue to increase throughout the fall as students return to campus and finish their course registrations, and the university records its final numbers based on data at Nov. 1. Last year the number of enrolled students was 3,662.
The number of students at BU has increased more than 25 per cent since 2012.
New and returning students will begin arriving on campus in late August and early September, with two weeks of Orientation activities beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 3. Classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 4.