Preliminary enrolment figures revealed by Laurentian University president Robert Haché Sept. 21 unsurprisingly show the headcount at the university is down as the new school year starts with the university still under creditor protection.
Haché provided the information to members of the Laurentian senate during their September meeting Tuesday.
Laurentian University declared insolvency in February, and applied for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).
As part of its insolvency restructuring, Laurentian axed 69 programs in the spring.
The university laid off 194 full-time workers at that time, including 116 full-time faculty positions, 41 unionized staff and 37 non-union jobs (24 of which were in management and executive positions).
Haché said first-day-of-class enrolments this September represent a decline in headcount of 12.9 per cent over the same time last year. More specifically, the headcounts are down 13.6 per cent for English programs, and 10 per cent for French programs.
He said in past years, first-day-of-class enrolments have represented between 95 and 96 per cent of final headcount numbers.
Final registration numbers will come out as of Nov. 1, and will be communicated following reporting to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
But Haché said these numbers actually sit at 102 per cent of enrolment targets included in Laurentian’s preliminary projections filed with the court as part of the CCAA process.
“Enrolment numbers for the first day of class in September are now available and are encouraging,” he said in a written report to the Laurentian senate.
“While the uncertainty around Laurentian’s status and the ongoing CCAA process was expected to impact fall enrolments, our first-day-of-class numbers suggest that we may exceed those projections to at least some degree.”
Information released by the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) shows Laurentian has taken a serious hit in its first-year student population.
Confirmation statistics put out by OUAC earlier this month show 609 students exiting high school had confirmed they had accepted offers to attend Laurentian as of Sept. 8. But that same statistic was 904 students a year ago. That represents a 32.5-per-cent drop.
OUAC also puts out confirmation statistics on first-year students who are coming to Laurentian from a route other than directly from high school.
In this “non-secondary” category, the drop in students is even higher. As of Sept. 7, there were 415 students in this category that had provided confirmations to Laurentian. A year ago, that same statistic was at 627 students. That’s a drop of 33.8 per cent.
It was revealed last spring that Laurentian had actually budgeted for a 30-per-cent loss of students as a worst-case scenario.