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By Rachel Reindorf

While applications to Ontario universities have jumped by more than 70 per cent over the past decade, Ryerson’s numbers remained stagnant.

According to Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, application numbers were roughly the same as last year — meaning about 50,000 high school applicants are vying for first-year spots at Ryerson.

“That’s one point, it’s not a trend. But I still think you have to look at it and analyze it,” Levy said. Overall, Levy, said. Ryerson’s admissions jumped 130 per cent from 2000 to 2010.

Applications from secondary school students to Ontario universities overall has increased by 2.7 per cent, according to statistics compiled by the Council of Ontario Universities from applications recieved by the Jan. 13 deadline.

However, the non-secondary school applicant group, which includes mature students, is also up by 2.7 per cent.

This group of applicants could equal more than 45,000 applicants by September.

“What is fair to say is that historically in recessions there has been increased demand for post-secondary education and Ryerson has always been a popular destination for non-traditional applicants,” said Keith Alnwick, Ryerson’s registrar.

Alnwick said between 30 to 50 per cent of Ryerson’s first-year class has been from non-traditional backgrounds.

The faculties typically in greatest demand by mature students are business and community services, according to Alnwick.

Levy said he would have a better idea of Ryerson’s mature student applications by Febuary or March, but said nothing has jumped out at him so far that shows an obvious change.

Mustafa Khalaf, a Grade 12 at Jarvis Collegiate Institute and a Ryerson applicant, said the potential influx of mature students wouldn’t stop him from applying. But he did acknowledge the challenges.

“With less space, that could definitely be a problem [for high school students],” Khalaf said, who is looking to enter the biomedical engineering program at Ryerson.

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