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Yukon Uni to attract students to Canada’s north

Canada’s first Arctic university is to officially launch in 2020, with a full degree program starting this September.

Downtown Whitehorse, where Yukon College is located. Photo: Anthony Delorenzo/ Wikimedia Commons

The local press has also hinted at the launch of two more universities in the territories

Yukon College, in the regional capital, Whitehorse will officially become Yukon University in the 2019/2020 academic year, offering bachelor’s degrees in governance to business administration and environmental studies.

The hybrid university will offer traditional college programming across its 13 campuses.

“We’ve already received interest from as far away as Australia”

Yukon College’s international students make up 15% but Jacqueline Bedard, executive director, external and government relations at Yukon College, states this is likely to increase with its university status.

Currently, international students come from 20 countries with top sending countries including India, Japan, Philippines, South Korea and Germany.

“Last academic year we received so many queries from international students that we had to close applications, with the exception of a few programs which had additional capacity. We need to build additional classrooms and student housing to accommodate a growth in students and we’re working on securing funding to do so,” she said.

“Being a university opens more doors when it comes to attracting international students. We’ve already received interest from as far away as Australia for the indigenous governance degree.

“We also expect to bring in more international students through partnership programs with universities around the globe,” added Bedard.

The news slots in neatly with the Canadian government’s International Education Strategy which places international education as a public policy priority to meet trade, economic, diplomacy and immigration objectives.

“First Nations and prominent business and industry leaders have been pushing for a university in the Yukon since the mid-70s,” Bedard explained.

“Many students and prospective students have told us that they would like to be able to complete their education here in the north, rather than having to pack up their lives to head south. This illustrates the need for a broader range of post-secondary education here in the Yukon.”

The university has been a long time coming. Around nine years ago, during a territorial election, two of the three political parties first campaigned on transitioning Yukon College to a university. Yukon College has been gearing up to a go-ahead ever since.

The local press has also hinted at the launch of two more universities in the territories – in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

Last year, Canada hosted almost 495,000 students, surpassing its goal five years early and has shown no signs of slowing down.

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