Full-time college enrolment grew from 473,379 in 2004-2005 to 554,454 in 2014-15, a modest increase of 17% over the decade. Part-time enrolment grew more rapidly (44%) during the same period.
Full-time university enrolment grew from 759,030 in 2004-2005 to 1,004,652 in 2014-2015, an increase of 32% over the decade. Part-time enrolment grew more modestly (15%) during the same period.
University FTE enrolment increased by 64% between 1999-2000 to 2014-2015 from 665,098 to 1,090,784. College FTE enrolment increased by 40% over the same period.
In 2014-15, 75% of all community college students in Canada were at Ontario colleges (41%) and Quebec colleges (34%).
In 2014-2015, 45% of undergraduates attended university in Ontario and 21% attended universities in Québec.
In 2014-2015, international students made up 10% of Bachelor’s and other undergraduate degree program FTE enrolment, but 22% of Master’s and 31% of Ph.D. programs.
Among first-year undergraduate students surveyed in 2015-2016, about 3% self-identified as aboriginal, 40% self-identified as a member of a visible minority group, and 22% of students self-identified as disabled with 12% reporting a disability linked to a mental health issue.
Women accounted for a majority of community college enrolments (55%) in 2014-15. Women accounted for one out of every five students in Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences, while they represented four out of every five students in Health and related fields
Women accounted for a majority of FTE students enrolled at the Bachelor’s and other undergraduate degrees (57%). 60% of all undergraduate enrolment was in the social sciences and humanities. Enrolments in the natural sciences and engineering comprised about one-quarter (24%).
Women accounted for the majority of students at the Master’s level (57%). They represent a minority in Architecture, Engineering and Related Technologies (29%) and a majority in Education (75%).
Women represented less than half (48%) of all students at the Ph.D. level in 2014-2015. Total FTE enrolment is almost divided equally between the humanities, arts, and social sciences (53%) and science and engineering-related fields of study (47%).
In 2015, 300,924 students graduated from a university while 210,594 students graduated from a community college. 310,008 students obtained a high school diploma in a secondary school.
In 2015, 231,822 Bachelor’s and other undergraduate degrees, 57,558 Master’s, and 7,257 Doctorates were awarded in Canada. 214,881 community college certificates and diplomas were awarded.
Women accounted for the majority of students to receive a community college qualification (56%). There is a large variation by field of study, with women representing just one out of every eight students (13%) in Architecture, Engineering and related Technologies to representing four out of every five students in Education (86%), Health, Parks, Recreation and Fitness (82%), and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Law (82%).
Women received three out of every five Bachelor’s and other undergraduate degrees in 2015. Women obtained three out of every four degrees in Education (76%) and Health, Parks, Recreation and Fitness (74%), while receiving about one out of every four degrees in Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences (27%) and about one in five in Architecture, Engineering and related Technologies (21%).
In 2015, women obtained 56% of all Master’s and other graduate degrees in Canada. Female graduates are underrepresented in several science and technology-related fields of study: Architecture, Engineering and Related Technologies (28%) and Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences (42%). They make up just over half of graduates in the Physical and Life Sciences, and Technologies (53%).
Two out of every five doctorates (40%) was awarded in the humanities and social sciences in 2015. Women represented less than half (45%) of all Ph.D. recipients.
The cost of undergraduate tuition has grown markedly over the past twenty years, from an average of $1,706 in 1991-1992 to $5,959 in 2014-2015, an increase of over 249%. Tuition costs grew the fastest in Ontario (+315% in 2014-2015) and the slowest at Memorial University in Newfoundland (+70%). At $7,539, Ontario also has the highest average tuition in the country. The average cost of undergraduate tuition in Newfoundland ($2,631 in 2014-2015) remains the lowest in the country. Average Canadian year over year increases in tuition costs between 2013-14 and 2014-15 were 3.3% for Canadian undergraduates, 2.8% for Canadian graduate students, 5.3% for foreign undergraduates and 3.3% for foreign graduate students.
The cost of graduate tuition has also grown markedly over the past twenty years, from an average of $1,819 in 1991-1992 to $6,210 in 2014-2015, an increase of over 241%. Tuition costs grew the fastest in Ontario (+337% in 2014-2015) and the slowest in Saskatchewan (+72%). At $8,738, Ontario also has the highest average tuition in the country. The average cost of graduate tuition in Newfoundland ($2,506 in 2014-2015) is the lowest in the country.
The most expensive undergraduate programs in Canada continue to be in the professional programs; with the highest being Dentistry tuition costs exceeding $35,000 per year at the University of British Columbia, University of Toronto and Western University.
The average cost of tuition for undergraduate foreign students was $20,447 in 2016-2017, a decrease of 13.3% from 2015-2016. The largest increase in tuition costs for foreign undergraduate students between 1991-92 and 2016-17 occurred in Alberta (a whopping 775%).
The cost of tuition for foreign students studying in Canada has skyrocketed over the past two decades. In 1991-92 the average cost of tuition for foreign graduate students in Canada was $6,678. By 2016-17 tuition costs in Canada for foreign graduate students had escalated to $15,009, an increase of 125%.
In 2013-14, more than 490,000 student loans were granted by the Canada Student Loan Program. 59% of CSLs were granted to university students, while 32% went to public community college students. The remaining 9% went to students in private programs.
In 2013-2014, the average Canada Student Loan for full-time university students was $5,579, $4,737 for full-time college students and $7,549 for full-time students at private institutions.
Between 1990-1991 and 2013-2014, the number of full-time CSL recipients grew by 221% in Ontario and by 85% in British Columbia, while declining by 53% in Newfoundland, 27% in Saskatchewan and 17% in Manitoba.
About half (48.8%) of full-time students aged 20-29 participated in the labour market in 2016, whether working part-time or full-time, or looking for work. The unemployment rate for full-time students declined from 7.2% in 2014 to 6.9% in 2015 and 2016, while the number of full-time students working part-time declined by 55,200 over 2014-2016. This drop in part-time employment for full-time students was almost entirely among students aged 20-24 years. The number of full-time students working full-time decreased by 3,400 over 2014-2016.
In 2014, 9.7% of post-secondary education students in Canada were of international origin. Amongst OECD countries, the largest proportions of international students registered in post-secondary education were in Australia and New Zealand, with 18.7% and 18.3% respectively.
In 2012, 47.3% of international university students studying in Canada were enrolled in the disciplines of Humanities and Arts, Social Sciences, Business and Law, followed by 34.1% in Agriculture, Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction.
University participation rates have grown considerably since the 1970s, even when taking into account factors including the effects of the economic cycle on enrolment rates and the end of Ontario Academic Credit (OAC) year in Ontario. While participation rates for all ages have grown, the highest growth rates are for the core group of younger students. From 1972 to 2014, the proportion of 19 year olds enrolled in university programs almost tripled, from a rate of 11.3% to 30.8%.
University participation rates for 18 to 24 year olds increased steadily throughout the 1990s and 2000s, from a rate of 17.7% in 1995 up to 26% in 2014.
In 2013-2014, 37.0% of full-time university students in Canada, excluding Quebec, received a Canada Student Loan.
In 2016-2017, the average tuition cost for Undergraduate Arts programs in Canada was $6,373. This was an increase of 67% over the past 20 years, reported in constant 2016 $. This contrasts sharply with the reported increase in the cost of tuition for the program of Dentistry (+243%) over the same 20 year period. The average tuition cost for the Dentistry program in 2016-2017 was $21,012.
3.5 Distribution of Gross Annual Earnings of Graduates Working Full-time by Educational Attainment, 2013 (Class of 2009-2010)
Educational attainment, particularly at the post-graduate level, has a large impact on post-graduation earnings, and the main labour market premium accrues to holders of Master’s degrees. For 2009-2010 graduates working full-time in 2013, those with a college certificate or diploma earned a median before-tax annual income of $44,600. For those with a Bachelor’s degree working full-time, the median income three years’ following graduation was $53,000, an $11,400 premium above the earnings of college graduates. Earnings jump considerably for holders of Master’s degrees working full-time, who earned a median gross income of $70,000, or a premium of $17,000 above the earnings of Bachelor’s graduates. However, Ph.D holders working full-time three years following the award of their degree earned $75,000, only a $5,000 premium above the earnings of Master’s graduates. Further, at the 25th percentile of the distribution, Master’s degree holders earned $54,000 compared to $57,000 for the bottom quartile of Ph.D holders in 2013.
While participation rates in post-secondary education have grown considerably, concurrent rates of participation in the labour force on the part of both young college and university students have also grown. In 1995-1996, the proportion of 20 year old university and college students who were working were 39% and 47% respectively. The rate of participation in full-time and part-time employment peaked at 46% for university students in 2000-01, and has slowly declined since, to a rate of 41% in 2015-2016. For 20 year old college students, the rate grew steadily to a peak of 56% in 2010-2011, before declining to 53% in 2015-2016.
Among full-time college and university students working or looking for work in 2016, 79.6% were employed part-time, 13.1% were employed full-time and 7.3% were unemployed.
Over the past twenty years, the number of full-time students who were also full-time employees has more than doubled – from 35,500 such students in 1996 up to 73,900 in 2016.