Nov. 26, 2020

University of Calgary sees record enrolment, topping 35,000 students for first time

Increase in fall 2020 numbers is result of concerted effort by registrar’s office and faculties enabled by compelling courses and programming offered
The University of Calgary campus on a snowy December day.
The University of Calgary campus on a snowy December day.

The University of Calgary saw record enrolment in fall 2020, up 2.4 per cent over last year and exceeding 35,000 for the first time in its history.

“These robust enrolment figures demonstrate that our recruitment and enrolment efforts are working,” says Angelique Saweczko, registrar. “This continued growth and our strong retention numbers year over year in the face of the global pandemic are a heartening indication that we are keeping on track and meeting the demands of the wider community.”

Recruitment initiatives were prioritized in the registrar’s office and faculties to ensure students were connected to the university and had the information needed regarding our offerings and how to apply and enrol. Some of the efforts in the faculties included telephone and social media campaigns as well as virtual information sessions for first-year students prior to arrival.

With recruiting and retaining greater numbers of Indigenous students a key part of ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the university’s Indigenous Strategy, it is notable that Indigenous enrolment was up in 2020, rising by 15.3 per cent in undergraduate programs and 21 per cent in graduate studies. More than 1,105 Indigenous students were enrolled at the university this year, compared to 949 in 2019.

The university continued to draw students not just from Calgary and throughout Alberta but from across Canada and around the world, despite COVID-19. Even with a 4.5 per cent drop in the number of graduate international students compared with 2019, over 1,900 of the university’s more than 6,800 graduate students are international.

The country of origin of those international graduate students changed somewhat as well: last year the university drew more international graduate students from China than anywhere else, whereas this year India was in top spot, and China moved to third behind Iran. As well this year, Nigeria joined the top five countries of origin in fourth, with the United States at fifth.

“Our campus community met the challenges of 2020, with academic staff ensuring our programs are current, meaningful and relevant for our undergraduates and graduate students,” says Dr. Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic).

“These impressive numbers reflect the university’s impact in our community and the great work our recruitment team is doing in the registrar’s office and in faculty offices. It takes an entire campus effort to achieve these numbers, particularly in the midst of a pandemic.”