A pilot project aimed at attracting students from southern Ontario to the six Northern Ontario colleges has brought 542 students here so far.
Study North began in October 2014 with funding from Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and the involved colleges — Cambrian College (Sudbury), Collège Boréal (Sudbury), Confederation College (Thunder Bay), Sault College (Sault Ste. Marie), Northern College (Timmins) and Canadore College (North Bay).
Its goal was to attract 50 students for each of the three years of the pilot project – an aim it's already achieved.
Study North identified key target audiences by utilizing geo-segmentation analysis and qualitative research. The project then implemented a highly focused marketing and recruiting campaign to reach these target audiences.
Study North proved to be an economic stimulus for partner colleges and Northern Ontario communities, said a press release. To date, the initiative has brought in 542 students from central and Southern Ontario.
Economic Modelling Specialists International, an economic data firm specializing in education, states average living expenses (room and board, personal expenses, transportation) for students who locate in northern Ontario equals $15,755 per student, per year.
Based on the results to date, Study North has generated between $17 million (based on two years' attendance) to $25 million (based on three years' attendance) for Northern Ontario’s economy.
These numbers are approximate, but offer a good indication of the positive economic impact Study North program is making across the north.
“The six (Study North) colleges have had, and continue to have, a significant economic impact on the communities in which they are located,” said Sault College president Ron Common, in a press release.
“Together they contribute approximately $1.6 billion to Northern Ontario’s economy through tuitions, housing and lifestyle spending.
“When we began (Study North) a few short years ago, market research indicated students in the GTA were unable to identify any of the colleges in Northern Ontario. Thanks to the collaboration and successful efforts of NOHFC and our six Northern Ontario colleges, this is no longer the case.”