WOLFVILLE (CUP) — Post-secondary education is rarely a one-degree commitment anymore, according to a survey of graduating students in the Maritime Provinces.
The study, conducted by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), revealed that over three-quarters of graduates from liberal arts universities plan to continue their education past a bachelor’s degree.
The majority of those students, however, said that they would leave the Maritimes to do so.
Of the students who do not plan to continue their education in the Maritimes, 38 per cent said it was because their program was not available in the region, while 29 per cent responded that the program they sought outside of the region had an excellent reputation.
Mireille Duguay, chief executive officer for MPHEC, said that this is not a surprising trend, considering that most universities in the Maritimes are primarily undergraduate institutions.
?We cannot be all things to all people,? she said, adding that students are often encouraged to study outside of their home region in order to experience living elsewhere.
Although most Maritime universities may not be known for their graduate and research programs, post-secondary institutions across the country are benefiting from a boost in graduate enrolment.
A 2007 study by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) revealed that full-time masters and PhD enrolment has risen rapidly in the last decade, from 65,000 students in 1996 to 102,000 students in 2006: a 57 per cent increase.
Meanwhile, preliminary figures for the Atlantic provinces in 2007-2008 indicate that graduate enrolment in the region is up by 2.9 per cent over the previous year.
This boost in graduate enrolment is also reflected in the labour market.
Over the last 16 years, the number of full-time jobs filled by graduate degree holders has grown from 550,000 in 1990 to more than one million in 2006.
Despite the fact that most students will seek to continue their post-secondary education outside of the Maritime provinces, the survey revealed that a majority of them (73%) and about one quarter of students from out of province indicated that they would like to stay in the region to live and work.
This is good news for a region that faces declines in undergraduate enrolment and an aging population.