Top Ten

January 12, 2009

uCalgary endowment fund takes $78-million hit

University of Calgary officials have revealed that the institution's endowment fund has dropped $78 million in value since March -- equal to the last 2-and-a-half years' worth of donations to the endowments pool. No scholarships or other endowment-funded programs have been affected so far. Meanwhile, Mount Royal College's endowments have dropped 9% in value. MRC's president says the college has no intention of reducing scholarship amounts as a result. Calgary Herald | CBC

Budget cut not expected to affect construction, growth at Laurier Brantford

A $31-million operating budget cut at Wilfrid Laurier University may mean a hiring freeze, less frequent offering of courses, and larger class sizes at the university's Brantford campus. Despite the cooling economy, Laurier Brantford will continue to add new students and develop new courses. Capital projects at the campus will go ahead as planned, including a university centre that was put on hold in December. Brantford Expositor

High PSE cost behind textbook piracy in Toronto

According to a Toronto Star investigation, the high cost of university textbooks -- and PSE in general -- is driving local students and copy shops to violate federal copyright law. The Star found 10 copy shops near Ryerson University and the University of Toronto offering services to duplicate full textbooks. The underground photocopying industry in Canada costs publishers $75 million annually in lost revenue. A number of copy shops -- both large and small -- have been investigated in recent years on the matter of textbook piracy. Toronto Star 

CFS presents budget ideas to finance minister

Last week, the Canadian Federation of Students met with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his staff in Montreal to present their fiscal stimulus ideas. CFS's national chairperson says reducing fees and increasing grants should be a priority in the federal budget. Last month, the CFS wrote an open letter to Flaherty proposing that more graduate student funding, increased financial support for Aboriginal students, and a boost in student summer job funding be part of a broader economic stimulus package. CFS News Release

What UWO students want

A new survey conducted by the University of Western Ontario's student union reveals students want an on-campus grocery store and a 12-month bus pass. At 73%, Student Health Services was the rated the most important student-funded service, followed by the Financial Aid Office (60%) and Campus Recreation (56%). The survey found that students are largely unaware of student awards and the political lobbying activities of the University Students' Council. The Gazette (student newspaper)

Stress levels rise as Ontario university application deadline looms

With Wednesday being the deadline to apply to Ontario universities, the panic is palpable at provincial high schools. Some students are begging their guidance counsellors to boost their grade averages, while others are brought to tears by the fear they will not meet their parents' expectations. Escalating grade cut-offs and a growing applicant pool are adding extra pressure. Between 2000 and 2008, the number of applications to Ontario universities jumped over 42%. Canadian Press

uCalgary launches website for Class of 2009

Yesterday, the University of Calgary unveiled a new website dedicated to students convocating in 2009. "Graduating This Year" offers information on job hunting, networking skills, and coping with debt. The site features student-oriented blogs and videos, alumni profiles, and links to alumni benefits and services. In addition to the website, uCalgary is running 2 contests, one of which asks students to submit a photo of their worst "What Not to Wear to Work" outfit for the chance to win a new wardrobe. uToday | Graduating This Year

Trend in US schools lowering tuition for out-of-state students

A number of US institutions are boosting their out-of-state recruitment efforts by offering prospects in-state tuition rates -- an initiative driven by the economic downturn. This fall, Southern Illinois University will offer in-state tuition to first-year students from 3 neighbouring states. North Dakota's Board of Higher Education recently approved a similar offer that extends to international prospects, and Minot State University hopes that initiative will lure more students from Canada and Washington state. Associated Press

Apollo Group Q1 profit jumps 24%

Last Thursday, Apollo Group Inc, the parent company of the University of Phoenix and Fredericton-based Meritus University, announced that its first-quarter revenue for the 2009 fiscal year increased 24% from the first quarter the year before, jumping from $781 million to $971 million. The company reports that total degreed enrolment in the first quarter grew over 18% to 384,900. Selling and promotional expenses increased over 29% to total $229 million. Apollo Group News Release | RTT News

Closing the skills gap with "open education"

With the demand for educated professionals outpacing the growth of the population with required skills, an "open education" model may help close the gap, writes Michael King in the latest issue of University Business. Open education is enabled by open technology such as cloud computing. Students will benefit from the greater access to education, while institutions will appreciate the increased business flexibility and lower costs. University Business