Postsecondary Enrolment Trends to 2031: Three Scenarios - ARCHIVED
This report applies various assumptions regarding future participation rates in postsecondary education to projected demographic trends to create three scenarios that estimate the potential future population of students in postsecondary institutions in Canada and the provinces. Projections are provided separately for enrolments at the college and the university levels for three age cohorts: 17 to 19 year-olds, 20 to 24 year-olds and 25 to 29 year-olds. Demographic trends and participation rates in college and in university both vary widely across provinces. To reflect these differences, the analysis is presented at both a national level and for each of the ten provinces. At the national level, the sample size is large enough to allow analysis of trends in both full- and part-time enrolment at the national level; at the provincial level, we constrain our enquiry to full-time only. Demographic data on historical and projected population trends for each of the three age cohorts was provided by Demography Division, Statistics Canada, for the 1990 to 2031 period. Historical college and university participation rates were calculated as the ratio of enrolment to population for the three age cohorts as reported by the Labour Force Survey (LFS). We capture enrolments for the academic year through averaging enrolments over the eight-month period between September and April, for the academic years from 1990/1991 to 2005/2006. Because of the coverage of the LFS, the population considered is that of the ten provinces. Projections of possible future enrolment levels are provided based on three sets of assumptions or 'what if' scenarios: Scenario 1: Maintaining the status quo What if college and university participation rates remain at the average level over the 2003/2004 to 2005/2006 period? Scenario 2: Growth in line with historical trends What if national postsecondary participation rates were to maintain historical trends observed over the 1990/1991 to 2005/2006 period until 2016/2017, remaining constant thereafter? Scenario 3: Closing the gender gap What if, in future, male participation rates in postsecondary education matched the higher rates observed for females over the 2002/2003 to 2005/2006 period?