College of the North Atlantic campuses, like the one on Prince Philip Drive in St. John's, pictured here, are seeing a big increase in students this year. (Paul Daly/CBC)
More and more students are choosing to enrol at Newfoundland and Labrador's College of the North Atlantic, and they're coming from all over the world to do so.
"This year we're looking at 671 international students as compared to last year when we had 375. And if we go back in time in 2017, we only had 66," said Elizabeth Kidd, president and CEO of CNA.
"India comprises about 261 of our international students followed by Nigeria, Ghana, Philippines and Bangladesh. Those are our top five countries."
This sudden spike in numbers represents an almost 80 per cent increase in international student enrolments and follows a recruitment campaign in India, among other countries.
"We've had a very aggressive international recruitment strategy over the last year," said Kidd.
She said the student visa process has also been moving faster than normal recently, which has helped boost the numbers.
"That's called diversity," Kidd said. "It's a fantastic model and it brings such a different vibe to our campuses and it's so much fun."
Despite that, Kidd said international students only represent 11 per cent of the total student body.
In general, CNA's fall enrolment grew by 10.3 per cent over the last year, with 6,056 students currently studying at the institution. A press release from CNA said this is the largest student body at the college since 2016.
CNA president Elizabeth Kidd says new programs and an increase in international enrollments are causing the boom in students. (Submitted by CNA)
Kidd said about half of this year's increase comes from the addition of several new program offerings, extra sections of existing programs, and programs being at or more closely filled to capacity.
"We're offering 11 brand new programs this year. We've got two applied degrees, one in early childhood education and one in systems and network cybersecurity. "
Among the other new programs is one for wind turbine technicians, which has had all 16 seats filled during its first year.
As well, 30 per cent of the total student body is now enrolled in a blended learning or fully online learning program. Kidd said online learning is CNA's way to eliminate barriers to post-secondary education.
The future of CNA also looks to be more international. Earlier this year, the college signed a memorandum of understanding with a Vietnamese investment group to establish a college in Vietnam. The goal of this college would be to have Vietnamese students graduate with Canadian credentials.
However, Kidd is hesitant to share many details of that project just yet.
"That right now is still a project that is under negotiations or under review," she said.
However, Kidd hopes that CNA's enrolment numbers continue to increase.
"By continuing to respond to industry needs and offering new programming, I think we're well on our way to continuing this trend."