MAY 9, 2019

NORTHERN ONTARIO -  In 2014 the six Northern Ontario colleges; Confederation College, Sault College, Collège Boréal, Cambrian College, Northern College, and Canadore College, announced a collaborative partnership, the Study North Initiative (SNI). SNI is funded in conjunction with the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and has proven to be very successful.  

“The objective of the SNI project is to engage southern Ontario students looking for quality post-secondary education options and inform them about the six great colleges we have right here in northern Ontario.” Said Theo Margaritis, Partner/Brand Strategist with TWG Communications, which led campaign.

“SNI is a tremendous success story for Northern Ontario. All six colleges were at the same table working together, NOHFC was on board with funding, and a comprehensive marketing and communications program proved to be the right ingredients for success over these last four years,” said Margaritis.

SNI identified key target audiences by utilizing geo-segmentation analysis and qualitative research.  SNI then implemented a highly focused marketing and recruiting campaign to reach these target audiences.

SNI proved to be an economic stimulus for partner colleges and Northern Ontario communities. To date, SNI has generated 542 students from central and Southern Ontario. Economic Modelling Specialists International (EMSI), 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, SNI has generated between $17 million (based on 2 years attendance) to $25 million (based on 3 years attendance) for Northern Ontario’s economy. These numbers are approximate, but offer a good indication of the positive economic impact SNI program is making across the North. 

“These new students have had a significant economic impact on Northern Ontario communities”, said Shawn Chorney, Vice-President Enrolment Management, Indigenous & Student Services at Canadore College. “Based on these enrolments, the direct impact to the colleges and economic benefits across communities in Northern Ontario more than quadruples the project investments to date”.

With the project in its final year and proceeding at full speed to the finish line, the long term impact of the marketing efforts coupled with the excellent collaboration between the six Northern Ontario colleges will prove beneficial for years to come. 

Dr. Ron Common, President of Sault College, said, “The six SNI colleges have had, and continue to have, a significant economic impact on the communities in which they are located. Together they contribute approximately $1.6 billion to northern Ontario’s economy through tuitions, housing and lifestyle spending”.

“When we began SNI 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,” said Dr. Common.