Top Ten

February 3, 2008

$120 million GM automotive facility for UOIT

On Friday, more than $120 million in funding  was announced from General Motors of Canada and the federal and provincial governments, to establish a unique new automotive research facility at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.  The General Motors of Canada Automotive Centre of Excellence will be the "hub of the Automotive Innovation Network," bringing together engineers, suppliers and universities. GM will also co-fund an NSERC chair.

New $15.1 million facility at Red River College

Construction has started on a new $15.1 million training centre at Red River College.  The new facility will create leading-edge research opportunities for Manitoba's green energy sector, as well as increase job training spaces and train new skilled workers.  The new facility will open in January 2009.

Royal Roads University gets $15 million for new building

$15 million from the BC provincial government will fund the first new academic building at Royal Roads University since its transition from a military college to a university.  "RRU has expanded at a rapid pace in order to provide students with career-oriented applied degrees. The new building is part of our promise to expand programs related to business and the economy."  3,000 students currently study in buildings originally built for 300 cadets. 

BC to develop quality assurance criteria for institutions

The province of BC intends to award "quality assurance designations" that will help students distinguish between the good and the bad of PSE.  A new report released late last week calls for tougher rules for career training and ESL schools, as well as improved student protection, increased accountability and a mandatory, outcome-based quality assurance process. Rather than re-regulate ESL schools, the government will make them eligible for the designation, and will require PCTIA (the Private Career Training Institutions Agency) to be more accountable to the public.

FNTI receives emergency federal funding

The federal government has announced $528,000 in one-time emergency funding to ensure that current students at the First Nations Technical Institute of Tyendinaga can finish the term.  The federal government has reiterated that any future funding must come from the provincial government, while the province insists that the school is a federal charge, as it is located on a reserve. There are 50 native institutes across Canada, and apparently all struggle without core funding.  FNTI president Tim Thompson still expects he will be issuing layoff notices this week. 

UNB-Saint John to keep liberal arts curriculum

In his annual state-of-the-province address Thursday night, New Brunswick's premier Shawn Graham offered few details about the future of the University of New Brunswick campus in Saint John, which has been recommended to merge with a local community college. He confirmed only that UNB-SJ will keep its liberal arts programs "while expanding with new program offerings to meet emerging economic opportunities."  Measures will be put into place to "ensure greater co-operation between universities and colleges in the province."

Ontario Premier opposes black-focused school for Toronto

Ontario's premier opposes the creation of a black-focused school in Toronto, but says his government will not prevent the TDSB from following through with the project.  Provincial funding, however, will not be made available to the alternative school.  Ontario's education minister has also positioned herself against the school, saying it is against the Ministry's philosophy of inclusion.

Lower interest for NS student loans

Nova Scotia's college and university students stand to save hundreds in interest on student loans, thanks to a direct-lending initiative introduced by the province.  2% will be shaved off the previous interest rate.  As a result, Nova Scotia will have one of the lowest student-loan rates in Canada.  Students enrolled in school or who began paying off student loans after October 31, 2007 will be the first to benefit from the program.

uMontreal plans first francophone women's hockey team

Universite de Montreal has created Quebec's "first francophone women's hockey team," according to a recent news release.  The Carabins will launch their first season in fall 2009.  The new women's varsity hockey team is a show of "merging academic excellence with the highest hockey ambitions."  60% of uMontreal's student population is female.  Participation in women's hockey is increasing by 10 to 15% each year in Quebec. 

Sallie Mae creates a new kind of accountability for US colleges

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, student loan giant Sallie Mae may have made more progress towards college accountability in a single day last month, than a US commission was able to do in a year.  The student loan provider reports that most of its losses on private loans were given to students at colleges with low graduation rates.  Sallie Mae has therefore decided to stop offering loans to students at these schools, and also to cut back on its government-subsidized lending: "We're investing in completed educations. Graduates."