Top Ten

January 25, 2011

Meritus U to close

Meritus University, a Fredericton-based online institution owned and operated by Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, announced Monday it is no longer accepting new students, will discontinue offering new courses for current students, and the last day of classes will be March 14. In a statement, the university says "there is a high risk that enrolment will continue to be insufficient to sustain the required quality academic and student service infrastructure we and our students demand." Meritus U will help current students to continue their programs online at uPhoenix or at another institution. Meritus U is the second Canadian online university to close in recent months. Lansbridge University, also based in New Brunswick, had its accreditation revoked by the provincial government last summer. Meritus U News | Financial Post

BC cracks down on private career colleges with high loan default rates

Last July, StudentAidBC served notice to 10 private career colleges across BC that their students would no longer be eligible for government assistance because so many had failed to make required payments. In some cases, default rates are around 40%; in others, they're even higher. Among public PSE institutions in BC, default rates are about 5%. The notices drew protests from career colleges, which said they were being unfairly punished for default rates they cannot control. BC's minister of science and universities announced Monday the province is contemplating changes that may allow an institution to maintain its designation overall but not allow financial aid to a specific program. Vancouver Sun

Concordia shooter renews lawsuit against colleagues

Serving a life sentence for fatally shooting 4 of his fellow professors in 1992, Valery Fabrikant is again pursuing a lawsuit against engineering department colleagues at Concordia University. In his $600,000 lawsuit, Fabrikant claims other Concordia staff members unfairly profited from his research and that they "extorted" his documents. The suit was thrown out in 2007, but Quebec's Court of Appeal said that was done in error and ordered it to resume. CBC

uAlberta interested in "university village" in downtown core

The University of Alberta's provost says the institution is keen on The Katz Group's idea of a "university village" in Edmonton's downtown core that could include NAIT, Grant MacEwan University, and other institutions. The Katz Group has plans to develop a new downtown entertainment and sports district, and has had talks with the city's major post-secondary schools. The provost says the proximity of the proposed arena development to uAlberta's Enterprise Square is an important factor, but Edmonton's commitment to extend the LRT line to NAIT was the clincher, noting that tying all the PSE campuses together with the LRT would help give Edmonton an "international calling card as a learning city." Edmonton Journal

New MOU supports further exploration of a WLU campus in Milton

The Town of Milton announced Monday a new 3-year memorandum of understanding that outlines the intention of Wilfrid Laurier University and Milton to continue investigating the potential for a university campus on 150 acres of land on the southwest side of the community. The new MOU brings in more partners with the expertise and financial resources to round out the partnership needed to develop the broader concept of a Milton Education Village. The MOU, which needs approval by WLU's board of governors, states that the proposal requires an acceptable level of provincial funding for construction, capital, and operating costs for the campus. WLU News

OUSA sets out priorities for next Ontario budget

In its pre-budget submission to the Ontario government, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance outlines 3 key priorities: ensuring access to PSE; adequately investing in university; and promoting student success. One recommendation on improving accessibility is to fulfill the Liberal government's platform commitment to reallocate funds spent on education tax credits to reduce students' up-front costs. OUSA calls on the province to meet the demand for growth, demonstrate progress toward a fairer cost-sharing model, and invest in quality by annually increasing university operating grants by $300 million over the next 5 years. Recommendations to promote student success include pedagogy training for all new faculty and teaching assistants and the creation of Ontario Teaching Chairs. OUSA News Release | Read the pre-budget submission

Immigrant children more likely than Canadian-born peers to pursue university education

According to a new Statistics Canada paper, immigrants who came to Canada at age 12 or younger were more likely than their Canadian-born peers to obtain a university education by age 25 to 34. This difference increased successively from those who arrived in the 1960s to those who came in the 1980s. Among male immigrant children who came in the 1980s, nearly 32% held a university degree by age 25 to 34, compared to just over 20% of the Canadian-born comparison group. For those who arrived in the 1960s, male childhood immigrants had a university completion rate about 6 percentage points higher than their Canadian-born peers. The pattern was similar among females, although the share of women with a university degree increased faster than the share of men, for both immigrant children and the Canadian-born. Statistics Canada | Read the paper

BC premier hopeful promises $10 million for CNC

BC Liberal leadership candidate Moira Stilwell says that if she becomes the province's next premier, she will propose a $10-million investment over 4 years to enable the College of New Caledonia to provide new civil engineering- and bioenergy-related programs. Stilwell has also promised $10 million to Northwest Community College for infrastructure relating to mining programs, and $10 million to Okanagan College for a mountain search and rescue training centre. Moira Stilwell News Release

Georgian College seeks financial assistance from Collingwood for new campus

Georgian College is asking the Town of Collingwood for $1 million over 4 years to help build a permanent campus in the town. College president Brian Tamblyn says area municipalities will be hit up to cover $2 million of the $8-million project. The current campus in Collingwood has about 80 full-time and 1,100 part-time students, and Tamblyn expects those numbers to triple when the permanent campus opens in September. Georgian is also trying to develop a couple of "marquee programs" exclusive to the Collingwood campus in order to attract students from outside the region. Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin

McGill men's hockey team receives $1-million gift

McGill University alumnus Stephen T. Molson and his wife Nancy have made a $1-million donation to the university's men's hockey team to support coaching, player recruitment, and the team's program development. The donation matches the largest gift to a varsity sports team in McGill's history, equalling a 2007 donation to establish an endowment fund to support women's hockey. The Molsons' gift allows the team's head coach to have the support of an endowed named coaching position, to be known as the Stephen and Nancy Molson Redmen Hockey Coach. McGill's men's hockey team celebrates its 134th birthday on January 31. McGill News Release