The recession blues have led to a spike in enrolment at Calgary’s post secondary institutions.

Mount Royal College, SAIT and the University of Calgary are all reporting a significant jump in applications for 2009, which will also see more prospective students turned away than in previous years.

Gord Nixon, SAIT’s VP Academic, said it’s normal for colleges and universities to see a boom in applications when the economy sags and this year is no exception.

“I’ve been through a couple of recessions and every time it happens there are always people going back to retrain,” he said, noting SAIT is looking at a nine percent increase in applications, far higher than an average year.

“Ultimately we have a fixed capacity funding wise and space wise so we can’t make room for everybody.”

Mount Royal has seen a 15 percent rise in applications this year, which will see as many as 4,000 students turned away when a normal year would see about half that amount, said Robin Fisher, the college’s VP Academic.

“It’s traditional in an economic downturn for people to improve their education but we’re also providing new post-secondary programs so I’m sure it’s a bit of both,” he said.

The U of C is also seeing an unusual boost in applications with a 10 percent total hike, according to Ann Tierney at the school.