U of T recently released its annual report on enrolment, showing projected increases to enrolment at UTM and UTSC.
Enrolment makes up the largest part of the university’s day-to-day revenue. According to the report, 88 per cent of the 2017–2018 “budgeted $2.5 billion in revenue” is “tied directly to students” through provincial operating grants, which are provided to the university based on enrolment, as well as tuition.
“Students are paying fees and that becomes revenue to the university,” said Jeff Lennon, Senior Manager of Academic Planning and Analysis. “If that student is a domestic student, they would be paying a tuition fee, and then we would have an operating grant from the government for the program that they’re in.”
Enrolment at U of T has boomed over the past 20 years, culminating with almost 89,000 students enroled in 2016–2017. Enrolment increased across U of T’s three campuses in both undergraduate and graduate programs. UTM, UTSC, and UTSG’s Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design, experienced the most enrolment growth over the past year.
U of T plans to increase undergraduate enrolment by two per cent or 1,152 Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) over the next five years. FTE is “a measure of course load activity of the students enroled,” that refers to the equivalent of a student “taking a full course load of five courses.”
While UTSC and UTM plan to grow by nine per cent, which is almost 1,000 FTE, and six per cent, which is almost 700 FTE, over the next five years, respectively, UTSG projects a reduction in enrolment of one per cent, which is around 500 FTE.
UTM and UTSC have grown significantly over the past decade, which has increased the demand for expanded classrooms and labs, student services, residences, and parking. Expansion and construction are already underway at both campuses.
“While the University has been very successful at fundraising for capital projects, continued support from the Province is essential to ensure that the University of Toronto continues to fulfill its mandate of providing a world-class teaching and research environment for its faculty and students,” the report said.
The university saw an “increased demand” for professional master’s programs as graduate enrolments continue to increase and has increased its number of program offerings to meet these demands over the past 10 years. Thirty per cent of all doctoral students and 23 per cent of master’s students in Ontario are enroled at U of T.
The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering will reduce undergraduate enrolment by six per cent, which is around 300 FTE, over five years as part of a “graduate intensification plan.” The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) also plans to reduce enrolment as the Concurrent Teacher Education program gets phased out. U of T plans “to end the undergraduate teacher education program and focus on teacher education at the graduate level.”
In 2016–2017, 19.7 per cent of all students were international students. This number is expected to rise by almost 0.5 per cent over the next five years. According to the report, “internationalization has been an academic goal pursued across many divisions,” and most of these divisions are close to reaching their enrolment goals.
“I see it as our goal to make the University of Toronto a truly global platform,” said Joseph Wong, Associate Vice-President and Vice-Provost, International Student Experience.
Most international undergraduate students at U of T come from China at 63 per cent, India at four per cent, and South Korea at three per cent. Initiatives, like the Lester B. Pearson Scholarship program, have been created to encourage students from “more diverse source countries.”
According to Wong, having “different perspectives and points of views and experiences really enriches the classroom,” especially in smaller classes.
“The four years that you spend in undergraduate are really transformative years,” said Wong. “The more we can infuse a kind of global landscape and the more we can position the U of T as a global platform, the more your experience becomes potentially transformative, and I think that’s really exciting.”
The university also made “efforts to attract more students of across Canada” and saw an increase in enrolment from students from other provinces over the course of five years.
“Overall, the data presented in this report demonstrate solid progress toward our long-term enrolment goals,” the report stated. “The University of Toronto continues to attract a large number of high-quality students, both domestically and internationally.”