Safe campuses, enhanced recruitment and student services help drive applications and first-year enrollments

Dear NSCAD community,

I am pleased to share our enrollment data for fall 2021, which reflects year-over-year growth in our full-time registrations, particularly for first-year, full-time students as NSCAD received more applications than ever.

Total full-time enrollment is up 3.6 % over this time last year, while first-year, full-time enrolment almost doubled during the same timeframe (up 43.5 %). The  Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU) recently released its 2021-2022 Preliminary Survey of Enrolments that shows similar trends for schools in the Atlantic region. Although NSCAD’s overall enrollment growth is relatively modest, course registrations have been robust.

Like all post-secondary institutions around the world, NSCAD’s 2020-2021 enrollment projections faced sudden and extraordinary uncertainty due to the unprecedented travel restrictions and public health crisis caused by the pandemic. The university worked long and hard through the year to pivot to high-quality online learning, and to implement operating protocols that aligned with public health directives and kept our campuses safe. I am very proud of and thankful for faculty’s and staff’s ongoing efforts to respond to student needs throughout the pandemic.

At the same time, efforts to revitalize strategic recruitment and improve admissions processes and interdepartmental collaboration within a student-centric service model helped showcase NSCAD to prospective and returning students as a place where creative minds and talent can thrive . The level of engagement with students has never been higher despite being in the middle of a pandemic. The university also continued to advance its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which will see the Office of Opportunity and Belonging evolve with its new director Charisma Grace Walker and new counsellor Jennifer Abrahamson.

Being a safe and vibrant creative community where one can see they are represented and welcome helps define NSCAD as an accessible and sustainable foundation for a rich academic and artistic journey – one that inspires creative careers to take flight. We will continue to build on this momentum through the coming year to ensure we are well positioned to pursue sustainable leadership in art, craft and design.


Sarah McKinnon, PhD
Interim President
NSCAD University