Graduate retention in New Brunswick: 2019 and 2020 cohort update

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New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training


This report is the first in a series of annual updates on post-secondary graduates’ retention in New Brunswick (NB) that will be released by the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT) each year. These reports provide an overview of NB graduates’ retention patterns since the previous reporting period, and these periodic updates on graduates’ retention trends can help guide public policy discussions around education and training strategies to attract youth to study, work, and live in NB. The current study, which looks at 2019 and 2020 graduate cohorts, updates the graduate retention results published by Bhuiyan et al. (2020), which considered individuals who graduated as recently as 2018. However, two changes in methodology used in this report mean that results presented here are not directly comparable to the previous results (Bhuiyan et al., 2020). The first change is that in this report, the data on university graduates come from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC), rather than the universities themselves. Though graduation numbers are very close between the two sources, data matching rates are lower with the new source. Second, a more conservative definition of retention is adopted in this report, whereby changes in Medicare status prior to an individual’s graduation date are used to assess retention post-graduation. These methodological changes are discussed in more detail in the report, but the net result is that estimated retention rates in this report are somewhat lower than comparable results in the previous report. We therefore present the full historical series of retention rates so that changes over time can be assessed using a consistent methodology.