22 SES 07 B, Paper Session
While international student mobility and migration has received much attention and examination, intranational student mobility and migration is a lesser studied area in educational research. The available data in Canada shows that, compared to other Canadians, residents of the four Easternmost province are more likely to travel outside of their home province to undertake university studies. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Memorial University of Newfoundland experienced a near ten-fold increase in the enrolment of students from the three nearby Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Our previous study of this upward enrolment trend has indicated that the increase was driven in part by Memorial University’s low tuition fees relative to other institutions in the Atlantic Canadian region at the time. In debates that followed on the question of increasing tuition fees for non-resident Canadian students, stakeholder groups took the position that lower fees were an effective public policy tool for increasing the population in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This work is guided by the intersection of the conceptual lenses of student choice frameworks, tuition price sensitivity analyses, and student migration studies.
This 10-year follow-up study was carried out to provide insight into the persistence and graduation rates of the 2010 Maritime student cohort at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and whether they continued to reside in Newfoundland and Labrador following their university studies. The study sampling frame consisted individuals from Canada's Maritime provinces who initially registered as first-year undergraduate students at Memorial University of Newfoundland for the fall 2010 semester. This sample of 279 students included only those who physically re-located to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to pursue full-time on-campus studies (i.e., distance learners were not included). This research also examined factors influencing student decisions to stay or leave the province following graduation, including a variety of employment and education factors, quality of life factors, and relationship factors. To achieve these objectives, this study relied on three sources: a) archived data from a previous study carried out in the autumn of 2010, b) university administrative records, and c) participant responses to an on-line survey carried out in the autumn of 2020. These data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics.
The analysis of university records showed that 26.5% of the students were no longer pursuing a program at the university one year after their initial enrolment -- a one-year retention rate that was about 10% below the Canadian average. The two-year retention rate was 60.6% -- about 20% below the national average. For the 2010 Maritime cohort, the four-year graduation rate was 22.6%, which was almost 20% below the national average. However, their graduation rate reached the national average by year 5. By the 6th year, the graduation rate of 44.8% was far below the 74% national rate of graduation. Despite stakeholder claims to the contrary in public reporting, almost 78% of the 2010 Maritime student cohort who were successfully surveyed in 2020 were no longer residing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Of those who remained in the province, survey respondents indicated that they were primarily drawn to Newfoundland and Labrador for employment and education opportunities, health and well-being considerations, and/or to be near their spouse/partner and/or friends. Survey respondents who did not continue to live in the province after leaving university most frequently cited employment and education opportunities, cost of living, and living closer to their parents and friends as their motivation to move out of the province. It is notable that there was no statistically significant connection between location of residence and graduation status. While there are limitations to the interpretation of this case study research, this work contributes to the understudied area of intranational student migration as well as studies of university tuition fee levels. The results raise important questions and offer a cautionary tale on approaches to the relationship of university tuition fees policy to public policy on population growth.
Christofides, L. N., Hoy, M., & Yang, L. (2009). The determinants of university participation in Canada (1977–2003). Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 38(2), 1–24. Gonzalez Canche, M. S. (2017). The heterogeneous non-resident student body: Measuring the effect of out-of-state students' home-state wealth on tuition and fee price variations. Research in Higher Education, 58(2), 141-183. Greene, M., & Kirby, D. (2012). The impact of tuition fees on access and student migration: Lessons from Canada’s Atlantic coast. Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 14(1), 72-90. Hearn, J. C., & Longanecker, D. (1985). Enrollment effects of alternative postsecondary pricing policies. Journal of Higher Education, 56(5), 485–508. Ishitani, T. T. (2011). The determinants of out-migration among in-state college students in the United States. Research in Higher Education, 52(2), 107–122. Johnson, D. R., & Rahman, F. (2005). The role of economic factors, including the level of tuition, in individual university participation decisions in Canada. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 35(3), 101–127. Mazzarol, T., & Soutar, G. (2002). “Push–pull” factors influencing international student destination choice. International Journal of Educational Management, 16(2), 82–90. McCabe, M. (2014, December). Auditor general is scrutinizing MUN's tuition freeze. The Overcast. https://theovercast.ca/straight-meghan-mccabe-2 McLeod, J. (2017, September). Students from away stay after studying in N.L: study. The Telegram. https://www.saltwire.com/news/provincial/students-from-away-stay-after-studying-in-nl-study-42851/ Neill, C. (2009). Tuition fees and the demand for university places. Economics of Education Review, 28(5), 561–570. Parsad, B., & Gray, L. (2005). Interstate migration patterns of recent recipients of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science and engineering. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation. Perna, L. W. (2006). Understanding the relationship between information about college prices and financial aid and students' college-related behavior. American Behavioral Scientist, 49(2), 1620-1635. Rivard, R., & Raymond, M. (2004). The effect of tuition fees on post-secondary education in Canada in the late 1990s. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada, Department of Finance. Saleh, A., & Bista, K. (2017). Examining factors impacting online survey response rates in educational research: Perceptions of graduate students. Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation, 13(2), 63-74. Statistics Canada. (2019). Student pathways through post-secondary education in Canada, 2010 to 2015. Ottawa: Author. Usher, A., (2020). The state of postsecondary education in Canada, 2020. Toronto: Higher Education Strategy Associates. Wakeling, P., & Jefferies, K. (2013). The effect of tuition fees on student mobility: The UK and Ireland as a natural experiment. British Educational Research Journal, 39(3), 491-513.
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