Carleton observes increase in American student enrolment

Many Canadian universities have experienced a surge in enrolment from American students, which some have attributed to Donald Trump’s presidential election.

In a recent Metro News article, Carleton media relations officer Steven Reid said the university’s American enrolment rate was not expected to change due to the U.S. political climate.

“Traditionally, international students comprise 13 per cent of the campus population with representation from over 150 countries. It is anticipated that this percentage of international students will remain stable,” Reid said.

According to the Metro article, American students became more interested in studying at Canadian post-secondary institutions after Trump’s election, a phenomenon referred to as the “Trump-bump.”

Carleton isn’t the only Canadian university experiencing an increase in American  student interest. According to an article by CTV News, Concordia University reported a 23 per cent increase in undergraduate applications from U.S. students.

Despite Reid’s comments, Janice O’Farrell, associate vice-president of Carleton’s Office of Enrolment Management, said that Carleton has seen a recent increase in enrolment by American students.

In an email, O’Farrell stated that the number of American students enrolled at Carleton had been fairly steady up until 2017. The coming fall semester will see a 24 per cent increase in the American student enrolment, she added.

Graphic by Mariam Abdel-Akher

In a previous article from The Charlatan published January 2017, Andrew Johnson, a Carleton American history professor, said cost of tuition is another potential reason American students are looking to study internationally.

“Canadian universities have been doing a lot of international recruiting, and with the cost of American education and the value of the Canadian dollar, it makes a lot of economic sense for Americans to look north,” Johnson said.

In the same January 2017 Charlatan article, Carleton adjunct research professor Victor Konrad shared Johnson’s outlook. He said Trump’s victory could have made an impact on increasing American enrolment at Canadian universities, but also attributed rising U.S. enrolment to the cost of studying in Canada versus studying in the U.S.  

O’Farrell said Carleton’s global engagement with prospective students extends to 48 different countries, and 68 different cities. 

According to O’Farrell, Carleton specifically targets American students residing in the northeast, along the eastern seaboard, and within the state of California.

Statistics provided by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning indicate U.S. student enrolment at Carleton has remained fairly constant between 2010 and 2016, with an average of 125 active students per year. Enrolment peaked last year, with 137 U.S. students registered to pursue studies at Carleton.

But, Reid said it is too soon to expect concrete evidence of a link between Trump winning the 2017 presidential election and an increase in American student enrolment at Carleton.

“We’re anticipating things being stable, but again we won’t have any of those numbers until November,” Reid said.


Photo by Julien Gignac