St. Michael’s College Confident in Enrolment Numbers Despite Pandemic

St. Michael’s College Confident in Enrolment Numbers Despite Pandemic

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A look at U of T’s gradual enrolment rebuilding

Lorenzo Canneri, News Editor 

Despite the ongoing pandemic, St. Michael’s College (SMC) is confident in their enrolment numbers moving into 2021. In an article published on the SMC website back in January 26, the college boasts that its enrolment has remained healthy and has actually increased in all college courses.

The article states that “[SMC] planned for the worst, hoped for the best and we’re pleasantly surprised. We were dealt an unusual hand and staff, professors, and students responded admirably to the challenges we have been dealt.” 

The article discusses several reasons for the uptick in enrolment. In the article, Interim Principal Mark McGowan cites the success and popularity of the St. Mikes Book and Media studies program which has remained one of the most popular at the University. Its popularity stems from the new and engaging courses offered by the program, such as the new #BlackLivesMatter and the media course taught by Emilie Nicolas.

Another reason for the strong enrolment numbers was due to SMC’s rapid transition to an online format so that students could continue their studies without interruption. The college did not just stop at transferring the classroom online: it also put an effort into ensuring some of the lost learning experiences could be replicated in one way or another. For example, the college instituted the global classroom program in order for courses which would normally engage in international travel to still have that component involved without actual travel. The global classroom has professors and researchers from around the world to supplement the classroom teachings. 

The University of Toronto (U of T) as a whole has begun its gradual rebuilding process after the initial shock of the pandemic. According to monthly application statistics from the Ontario Universities’ Application Center (OUAC) it was reported that from September of last year, U of T had seen a 1.6% decrease in the number of applicants through OUAC from 2019-2020. This was in line with what was occurring in other Universities across Ontario as well, with Ryerson and Queens seeing similar decreases. This led to the University increasing its number of confirmed acceptances for 2020 by 2.9%. In a new OUAC monthly application statistics, released on February 3, however, the University appears to have rebounded. In comparison to February of last year, U of T has had an increase of 3.2%, with 56,224 applications being received contrasted with last year’s number of 54,464 applicants. 

This is an important statistic for the University due to their reliance on student fees. In the 2020-2021 budget report, the University states that 87% of their operating revenues are, “derived primarily from tuition, other student fees, and provincial operating grants, all of which are tied to enrolment.” 

U of T’s stated operating revenue for 2020-2021 is $2.99 billion, representing an 8% increase since last year’s budget and they expect a growth in total revenue of $222 million in 2020-2021.