Top Ten

May 7, 2009

OCUFA report finds Ontario students paying more than their "share" of tuition

In its comparison of Ontario's tuition levels to peer jurisdictions in Canada and the US, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations says students in the province are paying more than their "share," both in terms of tuition costs and proportion of total operating revenue. For example, in 2007-08 net student fees represented 41% of revenues in Ontario -- 54% higher than the rest of Canada. OCUFA is concerned about the findings, as it carries significant negative implications for the affordability and accessibility of Ontario's PSE system. Trends in Higher Education

Ontario urged to double apprenticeship completion rate

A new report from Ontario's Workforce Shortage Coalition says the province must protect apprenticeship training during the economic downturn and commit to doubling its apprenticeship completion rate by 2020. The report recommends Ontario expand the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit, increase in-class training time for apprentices, and provide continuing education classes to address literacy and numeracy issues. Targets set in the report for 2020 include over 75% of adults age 25 to 34 having PSE credentials, at least 35% of Ontario employees participating in training each year, and increasing PSE credentials among underrepresented groups. Colleges Ontario News Release | Read the full report

Atlantic colleges inject $3 billion into regional economy

According to a new report from the Atlantic Provinces Community Colleges Consortium, colleges in the Atlantic provinces pump nearly $2.9 billion into the local economy annually, representing over 3% of the region's total yearly income. From a social perspective, Atlantic college graduates generate $9.6 million in savings associated with improved health, lower crime costs, and reduced unemployment and welfare. In terms of investment, taxpayers see a 13% return on their annual investments in the colleges, while students enjoy a 17% ROI of time and money. Read the executive summary | Fact Sheet

MUN student hospitalized following lab accident

A female graduate student at Memorial University was treated in hospital Wednesday after her attempt to dispose of some liquid chemicals created fumes. Some of the fumes entered the ventilation system of the chemistry building, prompting an evacuation of the building as a precautionary measure. Later in the day the chemicals were disposed of and the building was reopened. The student has since been released from hospital. St. John's Telegram | CBC

CNA Labrador West expansion should include new residence

Newfoundland and Labrador NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says the provincial government is "very short-sighted" for not including a student residence as part of the College of the North Atlantic Labrador West campus expansion, on which the province is spending $2 million. Michael says the issue is continually brought up with her, and even college officials have requested the government invest in a residence. Because of high housing costs in Labrador City, Michael says it's been very stressful for students attending the campus in trying to afford rent. CBC

Fenwick Place to cease being Dal residence

After June 14, Fenwick Place will no longer operate as a Dalhousie University student residence. Dal and Templeton Properties are in the final stages of negotiating a possible sale of the building. Selling Fenwick Place will not put any additional strain on the university's available dormitory-style residence space, as many students living in Fenwick were mature students with families who had more interest in apartment-style accommodation. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

UC San Diego makes another admissions error

Last month we reported that the University of California San Diego mistakenly sent all 28,000 rejected applicants acceptance e-mails. Late last week, the university's website incorrectly notified 607 transfer students applying to the La Jolla campus that their applications had been denied. UC San Diego has apologized for the "administrative error" and is notifying the affected students. San Diego Union-Tribune

Trend in US colleges imposing furloughs

As the recession looms, a number of American institutions are imposing furloughs -- temporary, unpaid leaves of work -- and more are considering them. At South Carolina-based Clemson University, staff take furloughs in hour-long chunks to minimize the economic blow by spreading the losses over multiple paycheques. At other schools, professors and administrators would rather take pay cuts so work doesn't pile up. Although furloughs can take a financial toll, those taking them agree they are better than permanent time off. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

International student boom in Australia

Foreign student enrolment at Australian institutions has jumped to a record 20%, despite expectations such enrolment would dip due to the global recession. India makes up the largest source of students, with an increase of close to 40%, while Chinese students make up almost a quarter of the international student body in Australian PSE. There are fears the government will argue that the increase in foreign students, whose fees help subsidize domestic public institutions, is reason to put off promises to increase research and infrastructure spending. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Amazon hopes to revolutionize textbook market with new Kindle

On Wednesday, Inc. introduced Kindle DX, a wide-format electronic-book reader. The company plans to work with a number of US universities on a pilot project featuring Kindles loaded with textbooks.  With over 80% of college students owning laptops onto which electronic versions of more than half of major textbooks can be downloaded, there is scepticism students would want to purchase and carry around Kindles for textbooks. Lack of awareness of e-textbook services and failed pilot projects with other e-book readers are leading experts to wonder how successful Amazon's new product will be. Wall Street Journal | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)