A new study from Nipissing University in North Bay finds that students from the northern-most areas of Canada face barriers on the road to post-secondary education.

Researchers at Nipissing University have published a study called "Proximity, Prosperity, and Participation: Examining Access to Post-secondary Education among Youth in Canada's Provincial North.”

They used data from a Statistics Canada survey to explore the difference in college and university participation rates.

Dr. David Zarifa is a sociology professor at Nipissing University.

"What we wanted to do is we wanted to look at the northern-most part of the provinces. They have similar geographic set up and similar levels of socio-economic status and demographic makeup." said Zarifa.

The study found that location plays a factor when choosing a university or college.  Many cities in the north, like North Bay for example, only have 2 choices: Canadore College and Nippissing University.

In southern Ontario, there are many more options for young people in pursuit of their dream job.

"They were significantly more likely to attend university programs. Roughly 47% of those from southern urban regions were attending university by the time they were aged 21, versus about 30 to 33% from northern and rural areas." said Zarifa.

Researchers say there is a wide gap between Upper and Lower Canada.

They say students from large urban regions are twice as likely to go university first, rather than college over their northern counterparts.

"Individuals that enter university at a faster rate, enter the workforce earlier and tend to have better workforce outcomes." said Zarifa.

Nipissing University isn't going to let these barriers get in the way though.

Casey Philips is the Assistant Vice President, Students at Nipissing University.

"Our role is really to assist those students who may be coming from a geographic region to North Bay that may be from a small community and we help them identify what those geographic barriers are and put supports in place to assist them with that transition into the university." said Phillips.

Dr. David Zarifa and his team are looking at other differences between Canadian regions relating to educational programs and workforce outcomes.