News / Calgary

University of Calgary unlikely to bump up enrolment with extra $10.6M: Provost

University of Calgary officials will hunker down this week to determine where best to use an additional $10.6 million from the province, but the school provost said it's unlikely the floodgates will be thrown open to new students.

The money came to the institution in early November as part of $50 million announcement spread out across schools hit by a nine per cent reduction in once-promised funding during the March budget.

At the time, former advanced education minister Thomas Lukasuk said the funds were to be used only to alleviate issues related to "over-enrolment" or to increase enrolment.

U of C provost Dru Marshall has said in the past her school's Faculty of Arts is one area where more students attend classes than should be for the amount of funding available. On Friday, she noted the funding boost would likely be used to improve conditions for current students, not admit new ones.

"When you cut $32 million out of the budget, basically there are pressures all over campus," she said, referring to the financial hit in the March budget. "What we have to do is think very carefully about how to make best use of $10.6 million."

Like other schools, the U of C has submitted proposals to the province on possible areas of "new enrolment" and it's expected some of those could be shown the green light with new funding in the 2014 budget, Marshall said.

The U of C is currently turning away more students than any time in recent memory. In 2012-13, just one of every 2.38 students that applied to the school were granted entrance, a jump from 2.04 in 2007-08. In some faculties, the odds are stacked much higher, as just one-in-13 applicants are accepted into the medical doctor program and just one-in-15 prospective lawyers gain entrance to the Juris Doctor program.

Mount Royal University has already said it will boost enrolment as early as the winter semester with an additional $2.1 million in funding it received in November, but will not have the necessary funds to reinstate any of the eight programs it suspended last spring.

Bow Valley College, meanwhile, has already boosted enrolment five per cent in the past year, according to a statement from President Sharon Carry, and will use the additional $895,000 it received it November to "deal with the cost pressures" from such a move.

SAIT has not released any details on where it will use an additional $3.4 million despite repeated inquiries on the matter from Metro in recent weeks.

At the U of C, meanwhile, members of the school's board of governors voted Friday to raise tuition one per cent for the 2014-15 school year.

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