Top Ten

March 29, 2010

Millions for PSE infrastructure in NL budget

The Newfoundland and Labrador government's 2010-11 budget, announced yesterday, includes significant investments in infrastructure at Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic. The province is committing $17.3 million for construction and upgrades at 3 of CNA's campuses, and $13 million for the construction of a new academic building at MUN's Corner Brook campus. The government will allocate $18 million for a new 500-bed residence at MUN's St. John's campus and a 200-bed dorm in Corner Brook, and $7.5 million to continue upgrading existing residences. The university will also receive an additional $3.2 million for its deferred maintenance plan and lab upgrades. Other investments in MUN include $2 million to increase the autonomy of the Corner Brook campus, $2 million in the School of Graduate Studies for fellowships, and $800,000 to support national and global marketing. The province will allocate $5 million for MUN and $1 million for CNA to extend the tuition freeze for 2010. NL Budget Highlights

$81 million for student financial support in Ontario

The Ontario government announced yesterday an $81-million investment to expand student aid and to modernize the Ontario Student Assistance Program to meet the needs of today's students. The improvements include more assistance for books, supplies, and equipment; doubling of the student income exemption; no interest period; increased student loan maximums; more help for married students and students with children; a new part-time student grant; and more flexible, income-sensitive repayment assistance. The Ontario Student Opportunity Grant threshold, which caps yearly student debt, will rise from $7,000 to $7,300 for a 2-term academic year -- the first increase to the cap in 12 years. Ontario News Release | Backgrounder

Postscript: Mar 31, 2010
In an interview with the Globe and Mail on the Ontario government extending tuition fee framework another 2 years, announced Monday along with student aid reforms, Academica Group's Ken Steele observes that increases in Canada tuition levels are likely inevitable, given that health care is a competing demand on government budgets, and American universities have more resources per student. "Universities are going to be crying louder and louder that they need more resources. I suspect tuition is the only place we are going to see any give." Globe and Mail

uAlberta introduces $290 mandatory student fee

The University of Alberta's board of governors has approved a new $290 non-instructional fee for all full-time students, down from the $550 fee originally proposed. The fee is included in the university's $1.6-billion budget for 2010-11, which the board passed Friday. A target of trimming expenditures by 5%, or $30 million, was included in the budget, along with the school's staff associations agreeing to furlough days in order to reduce staffing costs. As a result of reducing budget expenditures by 5%, layoffs are inevitable. The Edmonton Journal reports that 4 people working in the technology services department have already lost their jobs, and more layoffs are coming. The operating budget was approved with a $14.7-million deficit. uAlberta ExpressNews | Edmonton Journal | CBC | CTV

BCIT breaks ground for $39-million Campus Gateway Project

Friday marked the start of construction of British Columbia Institute of Technology's $39.4-million Campus Gateway Project at the institution's Burnaby campus. The new 6,860-square-metre wing of BCIT's central quad will house 33 new multi-use, exam, and project rooms, and additional study areas in the atrium. Student services will be moved into the new wing, while lab and classroom space will be renewed in the other 3 wings and additional faculty offices will be provided. BC News Release

$2 million for Quebec fisheries school infrastructure project

The federal and Quebec governments announced yesterday $2.1 million from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program for l'École des pêches et de l'aquaculture du Québec, based at Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles. The funds will support the construction of a pilot plant to develop aquatic products from the school. The CÉGEP recently received nearly $4 million in KIP funding for a new training centre for wind turbine maintenance. Quebec News Release (in French)

TWU to launch School of the Arts, Media and Culture

Next month, Trinity Western University's professional studies and performing arts faculty will transform into the School of the Arts, Media and Culture. Pending approval from BC's advanced education ministry, the school will launch 2 new degrees this fall: a BFA in Acting, and a BA in Corporate Communications. Future plans for the school include offering a BFA in Visual Arts and Design and a Bachelor of Musical Arts. TWU News

SFU takes measures to support open-access publishing

In recent months, Simon Fraser University has been building its support of open-access publishing of scholarly articles. In January, the university's senate library committee endorsed an open-access strategy for the institution's library. Last month, SFU established an open-access fund to support university researchers who publish articles in open-access journals. SFU faculty, staff, and graduate students can each claim up to $10,000 per fiscal year from the fund to pay article processing charges to publish in open-access journals. In December, the University of Ottawa announced it was the first Canadian university to adopt an open-access program. Georgia Straight

Survey finds over half of UBC undergrads, grad students believe tuition is too high

According to a survey of University of British Columbia students, whose results are included in a board of governors document, 50.6% of domestic undergraduates and 57.8% of graduate students feel that tuition is too high. 32.6% of domestic undergraduate students and 20.7% of grad students surveyed reported that a proposed 2% tuition hike for both groups would seriously impact them and they would have to consider delaying their studies or not returning to UBC. Both groups of students selected financial assistance and course choice/availability as the top investment priorities for the university. UBC BoG report

Canadian institutions support rebuilding efforts in Haiti

Education organizations such as AUCC, ACCC, and CREPUQ are working together to achieve a co-ordinated response to the devastation in Haiti following the earthquake in January. Many AUCC members, such as uOttawa, have waived tuition and residence fees for Haitian students and provided other forms of support, including scholarships, counselling services, and emergency financial aid. AUCC urges that PSE be a central component of Canada's plan of action and a feature of discussion at a meeting between the Haitian government and international donors in New York City on Wednesday to map out an action plan for reconstruction efforts over the next decade. AUCC News Release

Downturn leads to program cuts in US

In light of the recession in the US, dozens of majors and doctoral programs have been suspended or cut in the last year, with many more facing the chopping block. Several state systems, such as those in South Dakota and Pennsylvania, are conducting wholesale reviews of smaller degree programs, trying to weed out the allegedly weak programs. Program cuts have also signalled faculty layoffs. At Florida State University, whose board of trustees voted last June to suspend or discontinue 10 undergraduate majors and 3 graduate programs, 62 faculty members, of whom 21 are tenured, have been notified that they will no longer be employed at the university after May. Faculty activists interviewed by the Chronicle for Higher Education say professors should have more input on program-cutting decisions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)