2016 Atlantic Leaders' Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, June 24, 2016

HALIFAX, NS -- Graduating students are highly satisfied (87%) with the overall quality of post-secondary education (PSE) they have received across the region’s universities and community colleges. The vast majority of graduating students (82%) would remain in their province of study following graduation if an attractive job offer was available in their field of study. Findings show students hold Atlantic Canada in high regard as a place to live and work with most (70%) indicating they would recommend their province of study to others as a place to live or work.  

The results are from a 2016 Graduate Retention Study conducted by the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) which were released this morning at the Atlantic Leaders' Summit (http://atlanticuniversities.ca/policy-advocacy/2016-atlantic-leaders-summit) in Halifax.  

The online study among graduating students from the region’s universities and community colleges was conducted by Corporate Research Associates (CRA) and was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), under the Atlantic Policy Research Initiative (APRI) program.  A total of 4,643 graduating students from 21 PSE institutions participated in the survey.

Dr. H.E.A. (Eddy) Campbell, President and Vice-chancellor, University of New Brunswick and Chair, AAU, said “the high degree of satisfaction expressed by graduates about their educational and living experience while studying in the region speaks volumes about the high quality of our institutions and the communities in which they are located.”

He also noted that the study’s finding that 75% of international student graduates would remain in their province of study if given the choice “confirms that our universities are the best source of new immigrants to the region.”

Dr. Campbell added that, “While the overall results are positive, it is clear more work remains to be done on better connecting students to employers, including ramping up more opportunities for experiential learning, if we are to improve graduate retention rates.”

Overall, two-thirds of graduates (85% of community college graduates and 58% of university graduates) reported participation in some type of work integrated learning (e.g. co-op, internships, apprenticeships).

Don Bureaux, President, Nova Scotia Community College and Chair, Atlantic Provinces Community Colleges Consortium (APCCC) commented that, "community colleges strive to provide students with the skills to become successful and productive members of our communities. Retention of graduates is important to our region as we face population growth challenges. This study provides good information on the factors that influence graduate
decisions."

Both Dr. Campbell and Mr. Bureaux indicated concern about the low percentage (2%) of graduates who expressed an interest in starting a business, despite increased institutional efforts to foster more student interest in entrepreneurism.

The Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) represents the interests of universities across the region, ensuring public visibility for the important role they play in preparing future leaders of our communities, in path-breaking research and innovation, and in contributing to the economic, cultural and social prosperity of life in Atlantic Canada. 

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For further information, contact:

Peter Halpin, Executive Director, AAU
phalpin@atlanticuniversities.ca
(902) 425-4238 or 497-4419