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Post-secondary enrolment on the rise in Lethbridge


After a decline in enrolment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions, students appear to be headed back to the classroom.

Lethbridge College is reporting enrolment for the 2023-24 academic year around 5,500 students, which matches its pre-pandemic high.

“It's very positive, in the sense we're up about eight per cent overall so looking at welcoming about 5,500 students on campus or online as well, so they're not all literally here,” said Marko Hilgersom, registrar for Lethbridge College.

The University of Lethbridge (U of L) is still lagging behind its pre-COVID-19 enrolment.

2019 set the high for the university with 8,956, while this year only saw 8,314 students enroll.

While it’s still down from pre-pandemic levels, this year’s enrolment was 0.6 percent higher than in 2022, sparking optimism.

“We’re very happy with the news. The campus is really buzzing with activity, the student clubs are back at it. Students are heading to class, it’s a great feeling,” Kathleen Massey, U of L vice provost of students, said.

The biggest driver behind increased enrolment at the U of L and Lethbridge College was international students.

The U of L saw a 54.5 percent increase in international students year-over-year, with 1,228 international student’s enrolled at the university in 2023.

Lethbridge College, meanwhile, is now made up of about 20 per cent international students.

“There is a growing population outside of Canada. And generally our population growth in Canada is from people coming to Canada. So what we're seeing is India is our largest market, the Philippines, some different African countries, Nigeria, Kenya,” Hilgersom said.

Enrolment of domestic students hasn't quite gotten to the level either school would like to see, but there's a belief that it will pick up soon.

“Things are closer to normal now than they have been in the past in terms of their student experience. And I think that's bringing them back and I’d like to see more of them here. Particularly Albertans. We invited them all back to come study at the University of Lethbridge,” said Massey.

With this year's enrolment numbers finalized, the university and college are looking ahead to next academic year.

Both schools said the best time to think about enrolling for next year is right now. Top Stories

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