Plenty of opinions but no easy answers on Canadian PSE spending

March 18, 2015

An article published by CBC looks at the debate over how Canada's postsecondary dollars should be spent. The article notes that it isn't always clear exactly how PSE funding is being spent, but there are plenty of opinions on the issue. Many students and faculty say that too much is being spent on administrative salaries. Data from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) show that spending on non-academic full-time salaries in ON rose 78% between 2000–01 and 2013–14, from $945 M to nearly $1.7 B; however, it is uncertain how much of that is from increases to senior administrators' salaries. Others say that faculty salaries are too high, pointing to the number of professors on provincial sunshine lists. But David Robinson, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said that "if you look at the overall increases in expenditures at universities, overall costs are up over the past 10 years about 220% or so. Salaries are up 100%, so salaries haven't been the real cost driver." He noted that institutions are spending more on advertising as well as on bursaries and scholarships that are meant to offset the rising cost of tuition. Institutions are also being forced to spend more to compensate for reduced public funding. CBC