Top Ten

February 27, 2008

Federal budget changes the financial aid landscape

Yesterday's federal budget announced a new Vanier Scholarship program, to award 500 prestigious scholarships worth up to $50,000 to top Canadian or International PhD students. The budget also promised a new one-stop national website to administer federal and provincial student loans, and a new $350 million Canada Student Grants program to replace the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation at the end of its mandate in 2009. The new CSGs will target low-income Canadians, and guarantee funding for the length of a student's program. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has expressed concern that the research agenda of CMSF may "fall through the cracks." Maclean's | Globe & Mail

Ottawa commits more than $700 million to research

Yesterday's federal budget included an $80-million increase in tri-council funding (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) -- targetted at environmental and northern development research projects. The government also announced $15 million in new funding for indirect research costs, 20 new Canada Global Excellence Research Chairs worth up to $10 million each, $140 million for Genome Canada, and a $250-million Automotive Innovation Fund. The budget also earmarked $5 million for carbon capture research at uCalgary, and $10 million for uSask's Canada Light Source. Maclean's

uSask capital campaign brings in $150 million

The University of Saskatchewan's "Thinking the World of Our Future" capital campaign has raised $150 million over the past 5 years.  uSask's VP of University Advancement reports many non-financial successes of the campaign as well, including both national and international relationships.  $53 million was raised to support student awards and initiatives, while $40 million will go toward research.  About 30,000 individuals and organizations contributed to the campaign, with 65% living outside Saskatchewan.  uSaskatchewan News Release | The Star Phoenix

Quebec caps ancillary fee increases to $15

Quebec's tuition may have increased $100 this year, ending a 13-year tuition freeze, but the province's education minister is cracking down on ancillary fees.  Starting in April, Quebec schools will be limited to a maximum increase of $15 to existing ancillary fees.  Currently, ancillary fees range from $675 up to $1,100.  Universities will have to provide an outline of fees before the school year, and a report at the year's end.  CJAD Radio | The McGill Daily (Student Newspaper)

uWaterloo plans renovated "dormcubator"

This summer, the University of Waterloo will invest $400,000 in overhauling one of its residences to create "Velocity," a high-tech incubator where 70 hand-picked upper-year and graduate technology students, both male and female, can live and work together on projects. Renovations will add Wi-Fi access, server space, increased bandwidth and a 12-foot projection screen.  Common areas will be remodelled to include resources such as a mobile device lab and a corporate-style boardroom. VelocityIT World Canada

Redeemer University College launches new website

Redeemer University College, in Ancaster Ontario, unveiled their new interactive website over the weekend.  The site includes a new homepage and overall site design, as well as major new features for prospective students.  Visitors are invited to create an account, and then to login and receive personalized content.  Profiles collect data ranging from past schools attended, to study areas of interest, as well as varsity sports preferences and extracurriculars.  The Prospective Students page also includes a dynamic "To Do" list that pops up and reminds students where they sit in the application cycle (and encourages applying online).  Redeemer website

Mohawk College goes the extra mile for Aboriginal students

Four women from Mohawk College travelled more than 1,200 kilometres by plane, train, and car to reach a community of 3,000 people, reports the Hamilton Spectator.  They flew to Timmins, drove to Cochrane, took the Polar Express and drove on an ice road.  Two were members of the school's Aboriginal recruitment team, accompanied by the coordinator of the Aboriginal nursing program and one of her students.  These 4 women and others like them are spreading hope and the opportunity of education to the James Bay area.  The Hamilton Spectator

Violent crime declines 9% on US campuses

Crime is on the decline at four-year American colleges, according to a new report.  The campus crime rate at 4-year schools dropped 9% for violent crimes and 30% for property crimes between 1994 and 2004.  Crime rates were found to be higher at private colleges than at public schools.  93% of public institutions have sworn law enforcement officers, compared to only 42% of private institutions.  Inside Higher Ed

Facebook remains favourite website of students

Despite a brief drop in traffic, Facebook continues to be the favourite website of students for the 7th straight quarter (according to Youth Trends February 2008).  MySpace remained in the top ten websites for female respondents, but fell off the top ten for males. YouTube, Google, and Yahoo were on both lists.  Female respondents included their school's website in their top ten sites (7% of respondents).  It is estimated that as many as 95% of US college students currently use social networking sites.  eMarketer | The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) offers students "real" information

The beta version of "Communiversity" launched this week, and although it's US-focused and so new it has very little content, it may be worth a peek. The site promises "real students sharing their college experience so that others can explore and learn what post-high school is really like."  Current students and alumni (or anyone else) can post comments, rate schools, and upload their own photos.  IMHE Blog |