Campus now home to female majority

Oct 03, 2002, vol. 25, no. 3
By Diane Luckow

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Over the past 25 years SFU has grown and changed considerably.

While there is twice as much built space, including the Harbour Centre campus, the student headcount has more than doubled. The gender of that headcount has changed too. In 1976-77, 52 per cent of students were male.

Today, 57 per cent are female, a trend found at universities throughout North America. SFU registrar Nick Heath attributes this to several factors that have changed over the years: a greater emphasis on post-secondary education for women, SFU's large arts faculty, which tends to attract women, and the fact that women get better grades in high school.

Their better grades have given them the edge over males since the late 1980s when universities began raising admittance grades in order to limit enrollment on overcrowded campuses. The declining enrollment for males is, says Heath, “something I think we should be concerned about.”

Over 25 years, Vancouver's annual inflation has almost tripled. To cope with both inflation and the increased enrollment, the university's operating budget has increased almost five times over, from $42.6 million in 1976 to $205.5 million last year.

As the university has matured, sponsored research funding has increased 19-fold, from $2.09 million to $40.3 million. Ongoing fundraising efforts have also grown the university's endowment fund from $360,000 in 1976 to $109.4 million last year.

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