Enrolment up as classes near

With approximately 8,300 students set to begin classes at the University of Lethbridge next week, the institution is entering the 2010-11 academic year with a new president, a new building for the Faculties of Health Sciences and Management and, according to campus officials, a new level of enrolment as the start of classes approach.

Over the next few days, nearly 700 people will attend New Student Orientation sessions, more than 600 students will move into residence over the Labour Day weekend and several thousand students will give the City of Lethbridge an economic boost by returning from across Canada and around the world.

"We are ahead of our projections for this year, and, as of Sept. 2, are ahead of last year's record enrolment of 8,243 students," says Dr. Andy Hakin, the U of L's vice-president, academic and provost.

"We are also pleased to report an increase in the number of students who choose to attend the U of L from outside our community. This year, more than 4,000 students are joining us from other locations in Alberta – in particular the Calgary area (2,700) – and more than 600 international students have enrolled from 90 countries."

Hakin adds that capital funding from the Government of Alberta has permitted the University to continue growing.

"We are in the business of providing a quality education that is accessible, and we will not turn students away, period," says Hakin. "In fact, we are adding students to high demand program areas throughout the institution as well as having many general enrolment options students can take advantage of to start their University careers. We are also proud of the average entering grades for our incoming students, which are approximately 80 per cent."

Hakin acknowledges that further growth comes at a price, but that U of L officials are working closely with representatives of the Alberta government to make them aware of the unique way in which the U of L operates and how it serves both the student and broader community.

"As a comprehensive university, we are expanding our research programming and that, in turn, brings us more master and doctoral level candidates," he says. "This year, our enrolments in those areas have also increased to approximately 560 people, up from slightly more than 500 last year."

As well, Hakin adds that students can also take advantage of a number of co-operative education and applied studies programs to gain valuable work experience and real-life training in a variety of areas both nationally and internationally.

"Students and their families expect a personal experience when they attend and get involved in the U of L," says Hakin. "Everyone – from our front line administrative and maintenance staff, to our faculty members and President Mike Mahon – is ready to deliver."