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Campaign to lure students north had $31M impact

The five-year Study North Initiative has now drawn to a close
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20200301-Sault College, winter, stock-DT-01
Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie (Darren Taylor/SooToday)

The Study North Initiative (SNI) is estimated to have had a $31-million impact on Northern Ontario, five years after it was first launched.

Announced in 2014, Study North was a joint effort by Northern Ontario’s six colleges to collaboratively market their schools and programs in southern Ontario to boost recruitment from that region of the province.

The participating colleges include Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie, Collège Boréal and Cambrian College in Sudbury, Northern College in Timmins, and Canadore College in North Bay.

According to TWG Communications, the marketing firm that led the campaign, 656 students were enrolled from central and southern Ontario (or 700 factoring in fall 2019 applications).

Living expenses – including room and board, personal expenses, and transportation – are estimated at $16,000 per student, based on figures from the economic data firm Economic Modelling Specialists International.

The campaign was so successful, the three-year program was extended by two years.

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“SNI is a tremendous success story for the North,” said Theo Margaritis, a brand strategist with TWG, in a March 9 news release.

“All six colleges were at the same table working together, NOHFC was on board with funding, and a comprehensive marketing and communications program proved to be the right ingredients for success over the last five years.”

Sault College president Dr. Ron Common, who came up with the idea, said the benefits of the initiative are clear.

“A few short years ago, market research indicated students in the GTA were unable to identify any of the colleges in Northern Ontario,” he said in the release. “With NOHFC funding and lots of collaboration between our six Northern Ontario colleges, this is no longer the case.”

Common estimated that the six northern colleges continue to have a combined economic impact to the region of $1.6 billion, through tuition, housing, and lifestyle spending.




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