uAlberta Science to raise entrance requirement to reduce enrolment

October 24, 2012

For the fourth consecutive year, the University of Alberta's science faculty is increasing its entrance requirement to reduce enrolment, which is now 600 higher than what provincial funding covers. High school graduates will now need a mark of at least 80% to get admitted to the faculty. At the same time, the science dean has borrowed $1 million annually for the next 5 years to hire more faculty in what he calls "a buyer's market" sparked by tight university funding across North America. Over the past 4 years of tight budgets, the number of science professors dropped from 300 to 292. At the same time, enrolment rose to 6,700 students, with provincial funding for just 6,100 -- resulting in a shortfall of $6 million. Providing professors and classes for the 600 unfunded students is a "significant financial pressure" and considerable burden on faculty and staff, the dean says. With the new entrance requirement, the dean would like to see enrolment drop this fall to closer to 6,100, though he has no exact figure in mind. Raising the requirement was a difficult decision, the dean says, as it contradicts his goal to increase enrolment to 7,300 students. "I want to educate as many students as we can. We are here to provide high quality education to as many Albertans as we possibly can. From a practical point of view, I want enrolment to go down, but in my heart, I want it to go up." Edmonton Journal