Back to school 2017 quick facts

Preparing Canada’s next generation of leaders

More than one million students are heading to our university campuses this fall, where they will gain the skills and knowledge to reach their potential in our rapidly changing world.

Through hands-on research experiences, work-integrated learning, new technological tools and innovative approaches to classroom learning, they’ll gain a 21st century education.

A degree in discovery

  • 1/4
    participate in faculty research

    One quarter of undergraduate students work with faculty on research. These experiences ignite students’ passion for discovery and hone problem-solving skills.

    Source: National Survey of Student Engagement, 2016.
  • 70%
    satisfaction with learning beyond classroom

    Students said they were satisfied or very satisfied with opportunities to learn beyond the classroom, including undergraduate research, service-learning and student exchanges.

    Source: Canadian University Survey Consortium, Graduating University Student Survey, 2015.

Employment and entrepreneurship

  • 1.6M
    new jobs

    Between March 2008 and March 2017, 1,574,200 new jobs were created for university graduates – almost three times those created for graduates of all other types of postsecondary education combined.

    Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, 2008-2017.
  • 70%
    growth in salary

    Social sciences and humanities grads' salaries increased more than 70% on average over the eight-year period after graduation – similar to engineering and science grads.

    Source: Education Policy Research Initiative, Barista or better? New evidence on the earnings of postsecondary education graduates, 2016.

Going global

  • 3.1%
    study abroad

    Only 3.1% of students, or about 11% of students over the course of a degree, undertake an international mobility experience (including exchanges, internships, co-op placements and volunteer opportunities).

    Sources: Universities Canada Internationalization Survey, 2014; National Survey Student Engagement, updated NSSE 2015 and 2016.
  • 80%
    see career benefit

    More than 80% of employers that hire recruits with cross-cultural understanding and knowledge of the global marketplace say these employees enhance their company’s competitiveness.

    Source: Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014.
  • 97%
    offer international experiences

    The majority of universities offer their students international experiences such as academic coursework, field schools, volunteer work, research abroad and foreign work experience.

    Source: Universities Canada Internationalization Survey, 2014.
  • 175K
    international students in Canada

    Enrolment has more than doubled from 83,000 in 2006 to more than 175,000 in 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 7% over this period.

    Source: Universities Canada estimates, 2016.
  • $15.5B
    economic impact

    In 2016, international students, including their visiting families and friends, spent $15.5 billion on tuition, accommodation and discretionary spending – more than Canada’s exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft.

    Source: Global Affairs Canada, Economic impact of international education in Canada – 2017 update, Government of Canada.

Reconciliation through education

  • 71%
    increasing Indigenous leadership

    Well over two-thirds of Canada’s universities are working to include Indigenous representation within their governance or leadership structures.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 78%
    offering intercultural engagement

    Seventy-eight percent of universities promote intercultural engagement through cultural activities, events, talking circles and cultural competency or reconciliation training.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 70%
    advancing reconciliation

    Close to 70% of universities have or are developing strategic plans for advancing reconciliation.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 65%
    Indigenizing research

    Two-thirds of universities are incorporating Indigenous knowledge, methods and protocols into research and teaching policies, programs and practices.

    Source: Universities Canada survey, 2017.
  • 1.4%
    earning advanced degrees

    Only 1.4% of Indigenous Canadians between 25 and 34 years old have obtained a master’s or doctorate degree compared to 6.4% of non-Indigenous Canadians of the same age group.

    Source: Statistics Canada, National Household Survey, 2011.
Universities Canada