On Campus

Rocky start for Quest University

One of Canada’s newest private universities, perhaps the most ambitious of the bunch, has experienced a few challenges since opening its doors in Squamish, British Columbia, last year. Financed with $100 million in private funding, Quest University Canada was designed to accommodate about 800 students, however, in its first year only 75 students enrolled. This fall, the university’s overall student enrollment has increased to about 150.

Modeled along the lines of elite degree-granting institutions in the United States, tuition at Quest University is $24,500 per year. The annual $8,000 fee for room and board brings the total cost to $32,500/year, which is on par with many private universities in the US.

This Vancouver Sun article reviews the university’s recent challenges:

Faced with sluggish enrolments, Quest University in Squamish announced a surprising alliance in August with an education-management firm that owns Sprott-Shaw Community College and said the two institutions would temporarily share Sprott-Shaw president Dean Duperron.

The deal with Western Canada’s largest private community college and its owner CIBT Education Group was an odd fit. Sprott-Shaw prides itself on job training while Quest — Canada’s first secular, private non-profit university — promises students “an academic journey . . . in the pursuit of knowledge and global understanding.”

There were rumblings among Quest students, faculty and staff about whether a private, for-profit company could work with a non-profit university and concerns that Quest’s “intimate, integrated and international liberal-arts education” vision was at risk.

Within a month, the deal was dead, and students breathed a sigh of relief.

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