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Innovation PEI: Strategic Sectors, InnovationPEI.com,
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Situated off the eastern coast of Canada, Prince Edward Island is perhaps best known as the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" books. However, the island offers more than ocean bluffs and beautiful views. It also has urban centers, a diverse economy, and both traditional and online college options for postsecondary students.
Charlottetown, the capital, and Summerside are the province's two primary cities, and eight other towns dot the 140-mile-long island. As of 2011, slightly more than 145,000 residents called Prince Edward Island home.
An economy on the move
Despite its small size, Prince Edward Island has seen continual career growth in recent years. The government reports more than 4,100 new career opportunities were created from 2007 to 2012, a 6 percent increase. In addition, the province has led the region in career growth.
While tourism, agriculture and fishing have traditionally driven the economy, the island has diversified and boasts a robust high-tech sector. According to Innovation PEI, there are four main growth sectors on the island, including:
- Aerospace and defense
- Information and communications technology
- Renewable energy
Many of these industries are based near Prince Edward Island's major cities. For example, the 65-acre BioCommons Research Park is located west of Charlottetown, and the city is also home to the Atlantic Technology Centre. Meanwhile, one of the island's growing industry, aerospace, is centered in Summerside.
Although most businesses are based near urban hubs, there are other industrial and career growth sites elsewhere on the island. Notably, the Wind Energy Institute of Canada, a core component of the province's renewable energy industry, is located in North Cape.
Flexible learning opportunities from Prince Edward Island schools
Students looking to earn a degree in one of these growth fields can enroll in either an on-campus or online degree program.
There are colleges on Prince Edward Island that provide a traditional campus experience. These include the following institutions:
- University of Prince Edward Island
- Holland College, the province's community college
- College Acadie I-P-E, the French-language community college
- Maritime Christian College
Of these, only the University of Prince Edward Island and Maritime Christian College are degree-conferring institutions. The community colleges provide training programs, but these do not result in degrees.
Because there are limited Prince Edward Island colleges offering degree programs, students may want to consider online education options. Those living on the island may look to schools in other provinces and states and enroll in their online degree programs.
Likewise, students living far from the Charlottetown campus of the University of Prince Edward Island might want to enroll in one of programs offered through the institution's e-learning office. E-learning classes may be offered fully online or through a blended format combining online work with some on-campus requirements.
Financial aid for Prince Edward Island colleges
Students applying to colleges on Prince Edward Island may be eligible for financial aid from several sources. The Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning offers the following bursaries and awards to qualifying island students:
- George Coles Bursary
- Island Student Award
- Island Skills Award
- George Coles Graduate Scholarship
- Medical Residency Interest Relief Program
- Community Service Bursary
- Marine Atlantic Bursary Program
Information on these and other programs is available on the Prince Edward Island government website.
In addition to these island specific programs, students might be eligible for loans and grants from the Canadian government. Other programs, such as some of those offered at Holland College, are approved for qualifying U.S. students to apply as well.
Financial aid offices at colleges on Prince Edward Island can provide additional information regarding the various types of tuition assistance available. To learn more, students can start by requesting information from colleges and universities.