In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous enrolment increased slightly at the University of Saskatchewan during the 2020/2021 school year.

From May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021, the number of First Nations and Métis students enrolled at the university increased by one per cent.

Alison Pickrell is the assistant vice-provost of strategic enrolment management at the U of S.

“I think it speaks well to how the university community came together to move our programming online to remote delivery and our services and supports to remote delivery,” she said. “I think it also speaks to the resilience of students and their willingness to continue their post-secondary education in a remote mode as well.”

Overall enrolment at the university also increased by one per cent for a total of just under 26,000 students.

However, new Indigenous student enrolment decreased by seven per cent.

Pickrell said there are likely a couple of reasons for this.

“I think some of those challenges really are related to things like the reliability of technology, students have financial challenges, there’s a preference, of course, for lots of students to study in person rather than remotely. And, many students prefer to have on-campus support.”

The number of international students enrolled at the university also decreased by seven per cent.

Indigenous students now make up about 13 per cent of the total student population.

Of that total student population, 68 per cent of registered students were from Saskatchewan, 17 per cent from out of province and 15 per cent from outside Canada.

Of the Saskatchewan students, 68 per cent were from urban communities and 32 per cent from rural.