Statistics Canada published the 2014-15 enrollment data last week and I thought I would give you a bit of an overview. The data is based on snapshots of enrollment taken in the fall, so we’re talking a 24-month lag here (most other OECD countries can do this in 12-18 months), but this is Statscan so just be glad you’re getting any data at all.

The headline news is that enrollment in 2014-15 was up – barely – from 2.048 million to 2.055 million students (i.e. by 7,000 students), which puts enrollment at an all-time high. As a percentage of the Canadian population, students are thus now 5.8% of the Canadian population. Just to put that into perspective: that’s roughly the population of Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia combined. if students were a province, they would be the country’s fifth-largest. Students make up roughly the same proportion of the population that works in education, law, social services and government services occupations *combined,* or roughly 5.5 times the number of individuals employed in natural resource occupations.

**Figure 1: Enrollment by Level and Intensity, 1994-95 and 2004-05**

But while enrollment increased at both universities and colleges, there are some interesting dynamics if you poke around a bit under the hood. The main one is that part-time enrollment fell substantially for the second year in a row at universities and third at colleges. Full-time and part-time enrollments are going in completely different directions at the moment.

**Figure 2: Changes in Full- and Part-time student enrollments, 2010-11 to 2014-15 (2010-11 = 100)**

The other really interesting trend in enrollments has to do with international students. Over the past five years, total full-time enrollment at colleges and universities has increased by 126,000. 48% of that increase is accounted for by international enrollments. Or, to put that another way: domestic student enrollment has increased by about 5%, but international student enrollment has increased by 56%. These figures are shown below in figure 3. Apologies for lines not being distinct, but that’s a factor of the trends being almost identical in both the college and university sectors.

**Figure 3: Changes in Domestic and International Full- time enrollments, 2010-11 to 2014-15 (2010-11 = 100)**

That last graph is especially important when you think about institutional finances. Assuming (at a high level of generality) that tuition income from international students is about three times what it is for domestic students, that implies that over 75% of the increase in tuition revenue over the period 2010-11 to 2014-15 comes from international students. I’ll try to get into more detail on this at some point before Christmas, but by my back-of-the-envelope reckoning that makes international student fees responsible for almost exactly 50% of total increase in operating funds over those five years.

Let that sink in for a bit. Fifty percent.

There are a lot of implications to that number.