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Atlantic Canada universities seeing decline in student enrolment due to COVID-19

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A new survey indicates Atlantic Canada universities have experienced declines in domestic and international enrolment, mainly due to uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Association of Atlantic Universities said Friday full-time enrolment is down 1.3 per cent over last year, and enrolment by full-time visa students declined by 6.6 per cent during the same period.

READ MORE: Canadian universities could lose millions, possibly billions due to coronavirus: StatCan

The association says travel restrictions and the temporary closure of worldwide visa-processing offices have seriously affected international student enrolment in all but six of its 16-member universities.

Association chair Allister Surette says a 10.5 per cent decline in first-year student enrolment is the most concerning part of the survey.

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Surette says that decline will have a significant impact on enrolment and institutional sustainability over the next three-to-four years.

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He says the overall findings are not a surprise because declines were expected as universities largely shifted to remote learning.