Top Ten

April 24, 2007

52 recommendations for BC PSE

 Yesterday, following an intensive consultation process, the special adviser to BC's premier and the Minister of Advanced Education submitted his final report for the "Campus 2020: Thinking Ahead" project.  The report recommends balancing “Access and Excellence” -- preserving the “wonderful legacy of regional institutions” while also giving "diverse institutions distinct responsibilities."  The report urges BC to be among the top 3 provinces in research investment, and to aim for the highest PSE participation rate by 2015. It recommends a Higher Education Presidents' Council to foster collaboration, a Higher Education Board to measure the sector's progress, and Regional Learning Councils to bring together PSE and K-12. The report also suggests a new online BC Learning Gateway, and a Pacific Centre of Excellence in Learning Innovation. BC News Release | Read the Report

BC students lobby for free adult upgrading

BC students are meeting with provincial politicians to urge the elimination of $4 million in tuition fees for 30,000 adult students taking basic education programs, as early as this fall. Adult students currently pay as much as $500 for each high-school level course. According to a recent provincial release, 36% of BC’s adults are illiterate, and 75% of basic education students live below the poverty line, despite working full time.  CFS News Release

$25 million for accessibility in Alberta

Alberta has announced $25 million in upgrades for its student assistance program. Living allowances will increase by 14%, annual student loan limits will be boosted to $13,000, and parental contribution amounts will be reduced.  Previously, students with vehicles worth more than $5,000 had their financial aid reduced; students can now own cars of any value amount without reductions. The education tax credit will also be increased by 26%, from $475 to $600 per month for full-time students.  Alberta News Release | CBC

Saskatchewan First Nations urged to distance itself from FNU

As First Nations University of Canada is put on probation by the AUCC, observers are calling for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations to step back from the institution. FNU has 12 months to establish an independent board of directors, free of FSIN representatives. FNU is the first AUCC member institution to be placed on probation, and if it fails to meet the association’s requirements, it will be the first to have its membership revoked entirely, in the process losing provincial and federal education funding. The Regina Leader-Post

Heavy debt load means fewer family doctors for Ontario

Ontario med students are asking the provincial government to defer student loan payments and interest accrual until after residency training has been completed -- a policy already adopted by Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta. Staggering financial pressures lead many students away from family medical practice to higher-paying specialties. The interest deferral would also help make medical studies accessible across broader socio-economic backgrounds, removing financial roadblocks for students from lower-income families.  OMA News Release

CBU hopes to introduce new BEd

Cape Breton University hopes to offer a bachelor of education program by 2008.  Currently, a 16-month partnership with Memorial University allows graduates to teach in both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. CBU has been denied its own education degree for more than 10 years, despite being the only region of NS without a B.Ed, and being the second-largest population group outside of Halifax.  With 40 CBU students taking the education program via Memorial this term, $400,000 in tuition fees will go to the other school with very little coming back to CBU.  The Cape Breton Post

A new travel agent for campus tourism

Three business students at Laurier and uWaterloo conceived "College & University Explorations" to offer chaperoned tours of PSE institutions for high school students, and help prospective students meet each other while they were at it. The three won $15,000 in seed money from the 2006 LaunchPad Venture Creation Competition, and then turned around and sold the venture to Mississauga-based "Impact Educational Tours," which is marketing directly to high school counsellors. The service is building a client base in Ontario before expanding nationally. Waterloo Alumni Newsletter | CUE 

Rotman hosts summer top-up program

Arts & Science students can now top off their undergrad with a month-long stint at business school.  Rotman School of Management’s "Bridge to Business" program gives students the basic business, management and people skills they will need to succeed in their first full-time positions.  2007 will be the second run of the program.  2006’s B2B class included recruits from across Canada and as far away as the UK.  uToronto News Release

Saudi Arabia to reform education, for $3.5 billion

A team of academics has been put together to develop a 25-year strategy for Saudi Arabia’s higher education system.  The goal of the project is to synchronize education with the country’s development and job market, and to fulfill the criteria of a sustainable, first-class academic system: academic excellence, high population growth rate, global influence on education principles, ever-increasing funding demands and labour market needs for highly-qualified graduates.  A total of $3.5 billion is budgeted for whatever reforms come out of the project.  The Khaleej Times

Deans take a turn at helicoptering

Decades of experience working in PSE admissions doesn’t make a difference -- when the student in question is your son or daughter, you become a helicopter parent too. The Dean of Admissions at Scripps College in California describes the experience as “watching your child be judged in your own court.”  Each of the deans interviewed by the Chronicle said they found their children’s application experiences to be educational, if not pleasant.  Deans tend to be hyper-involved when their kids go to the market, but many of these inside-edge offspring don’t appreciate their parents' expertise.  Others find their interest in higher education sapped by early- and over- enthusiasm from their parents.  And despite their years of calm advice, deans find themselves breaking the same rules they warn parents against by day.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)