Top Ten

September 7, 2010

Canadians paying more for higher education, OECD reports

As Canada spends more and more on PSE, an increasing percentage of the cost is carried by students and their families, according to the OECD's annual Education at a Glance report. Out of 32 developed nations, Canada has the second-highest rate of education spending in proportion to its GDP at over 2.5%, behind only the US. However, a significant portion of that spending, 43.4% in 2007, came from private sources, primarily tuition fees. The report follows the revelation that Canada's federal student loan program will soon hit its $15-billion ceiling years ahead of schedule. The federal government has rewritten the regulation that defines how the total loan amount is calculated, shaving off nearly $2 billion. Globe and Mail (OECD report) | Globe and Mail (student loan cap) | Read the report 

Highlights from Education Indicators in Canada

Yesterday StatsCan and CMEC released Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective, 2010, which expands on the data collected for OECD's Education at a Glance report. According to the most recent data available, the college graduation rate in Canada, which includes just first-time graduates, was 26%, compared to the OECD average of 10%. At the university level, the first-time bachelor's graduation rate was 34% in Canada, below the OECD average of 38%. In 2008, the employment rate for Canadians between the ages of 25 to 64 who had not graduated from high school was 58%, compared to 83% for college and university graduates. University program graduates earned 75% more on average than high school or trade/vocational program graduates. CMEC News Release | Statistics Canada | Read the report

RCMP executive threatened funding for SFU criminology department, professor says

An RCMP deputy commissioner has issued a "thinly veiled threat" to withdraw funding from Simon Fraser University's criminology department if its director does not stop criticizing the force, the director alleges. In an e-mail obtained by the Victoria Times-Colonist, the deputy commissioner chastised the director for his comments in the media criticizing the RCMP's investigation into Robert Pickton. The deputy commissioner also questioned the RCMP's role as a key donor for SFU's Institute of Canadian Urban Research Studies, housed in the criminology department. In an interview with the Times-Colonist, the deputy commissioner says his comment was in no way intended as a threat to pull funding for the institute. Victoria Times-Colonist

Quebec tuition should match Canadian average, says McGill principal

Appearing before the Quebec National Assembly's Committee on Culture and Education yesterday, McGill University principal Heather Munroe-Blum underlined the growing disparity between the financial resources enjoyed by competitor institutions with regard to the level of government investment in research, as well as the issue of tuition fees. A new university financing model needs to include a policy that would gradually bring Quebec tuition fees to the Canadian average, along with the allocation of a substantial portion of net tuition revenues to increases in student financial aid, Munroe-Blum stated. McGill News Release | Read McGill's report to the committee

CAUS outlines priorities for Alberta's next budget

In its budget recommendations to the Alberta government, the Council of Alberta University Students, which represents undergraduate students at uAlberta, uCalgary, and uLethbridge, calls for 2 major investments to improve the accessibility, affordability, and quality of the province's PSE system. CAUS recommends increasing operating grants to the 3 universities by $56 million and increasing grants and bursaries by $110 million. The proposed investment in non-repayable assistance can be made by terminating the provincial tuition and education tax credits, which are expensive and ineffective, CAUS argues. Read the budget recommendations

How to reinvent Ontario's PSE system

Some key challenges need to be addressed if Ontario's PSE system is to be reinvented, writes Sheridan College president Jeff Zabudsky in Sunday's Toronto Star. Institutions must innovate in terms of improved access, states Zabudsky, who suggests using infrastructure all year round, rather than ramping down during the summer. Schools should also increase capacity by broadening the horizons of online courses. Another challenge is to do a better job of developing more seamless pathways between institutions; schools may have to consider more of a "common-market" approach to facilitate transition from one institution to another, Zabudsky writes. He also states that today's educators must be diligent in adapting and customizing virtually everything they offer to meet the future needs of Ontario industry and business. Toronto Star

St. Clair sets enrolment record

St. Clair College will have an unsurpassed enrolment of 8,343 students this fall, an overall increase of 57% since 2000. "It's aggressive marketing and I believe the image of the college is changing across (Ontario)," says president John Strasser. He says the college is introducing new programs that are more relevant, and with the addition of new facilities such as the MediaPlex, St. Clair is "catching the attention of people and students want to come." Windsor Star

Residence space crunch at uCalgary

When all of the University of Calgary's residence spaces were filled up for the upcoming academic year, 400 students were left to either wait for a cancellation or find alternative housing ahead of the first day of classes yesterday. The university's on-campus housing crunch is expected to ease next year with the opening of a 7-storey, 600-bed residence for second-year students. Just 3 LRT stops away from uCalgary, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is offering its available rooms to uCalgary students having trouble finding a place to stay. Like SAIT, Mount Royal University's residences are not full, but since the institution gained university status, it expects demand for on-campus housing to grow. Calgary Herald

Trent names new stadium for $1-million gift

Trent University has received a $1-million gift in support of the renewed and expanded Trent Community Sport and Recreation Centre, which opens this month. In recognition of the gift, Trent will name the stadium, a focal point of the centre, after the donor, international alumnus and property developer Justin Chiu. The Justin Chiu Stadium features an artificial grass field, new track, bleacher seating for 1,000 people, a score board, an outdoor sound system, and a fully-serviced press box to support live broadcasts and Web-casting. Trent News Release

UQAM unveils new homepage

In time for the new school year, the Université du Québec à Montréal has updated its homepage. The redesigned homepage directs visitors to the university's "L'effet UQAM" promotional campaign, and to its future students portal, which was revised this summer. The portal features video testimonials from current students. The homepage also includes new entries to UQAM News (in French) | UQAM homepage