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More than 5,000 new students celebrated the start of the fall semester during a week of orientation activities at the Burnaby and Surrey campuses.

Surrey campus thrives, SFU enrolment climbs

September 9, 2010

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Enrolment at the Surrey campus is on a steady climb while the numbers across the board for the university are also expected to be above targets.

According to preliminary enrolment figures, nearly 25,000 students are registered for courses at SFU this year, up about 3.8 per cent. Of those, 5,186 are new students.

At SFU Surrey, a record 5,765 students will be hitting the books this fall semester—and that could rise further by the semester’s third week, when the figures are finalized.

"SFU Surrey is the first choice of students in the Surrey school district, and the Surrey school district is now SFU’s number one feeder district," says campus executive director Joanne Curry.

This year the Surrey campus received an average of three applications for every seat, compared with a 2:1 ratio last year. Jon Driver, SFU’s vice-president academic, says the university’s original agreement with government was to build a campus for a much larger student population than it currently accommodates.

"Clearly there is a demand for those spaces and we believe we could easily fill many more if the funding and space were available," he says.

Overall, the number of students entering SFU from high schools is up slightly, following a provincial trend, while the percentage transferring from colleges and other universities is down (about 12 per cent). That’s been a trend for the past three or four years, notes Driver, who says the decrease at SFU has been less than at other universities.

International student enrolment at SFU also continues to rise, with about 800 new international students (a 29-per-cent increase) registering this semester. In total, 13.9 per cent of currently registered students are international students.

"Over-enrolment on the international side has a couple of impacts, says Driver. "While it can increase problems around access to space in classes and to student services, a significant proportion of the additional income they bring to the university is used to provide more courses and services, and that gives us some flexibility during difficult budget times."

And although SFU’s overall enrolment is up, Driver says the percentage of courses that are full has dropped—and that’s good news for students. "It’s something we’ve been working hard to deal with, and while we’ve by no means solved the problem, it looks like we are moving in the right direction."

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