Top Ten

February 9, 2011

Federal student aid program in need of $150-million cash injection

According to budget documents tabled Tuesday, the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) requires a $149.5-million injection to cover writeoffs of over 60,000 unanticipated defaults. The CSLP is also in need of another $311.2 million to meet higher demand for loans, just as repayments decline. The Canadian Federation of Students' national chairperson says it's not surprising Ottawa needs more money for the CSLP, given the rising delinquency rate for student borrowers, just as the number of students borrowing and the amount of money being borrowed are increasing. A government spokesperson says the loan defaults can be traced back 7 years, and do not have anything to do with today's tuition or the recession. Canadian Press

SFU launches Beedie School of Business with $22-million donation

Ryan Beedie, president of The Beedie Group, an industrial real estate development firm, and his father Keith have donated $22 million to Ryan's alma mater, Simon Fraser University's business school, which will now be named the Beedie School of Business. SFU will use the gift -- the largest in the institution's history -- to create an endowment supporting students, professorships, and research chairs. The business school dean says the donation will help make the Beedie School of Business a global thought leader in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, Asia Pacific business studies, risk management, and sustainability. SFU News Release

CAUT investigates Redeemer over alleged restrictions on academic freedom

The National Post reports that the Canadian Association of University Teachers told Redeemer University College last fall it would investigate possible abuses of academic freedom at the Ancaster, Ontario-based institution. Redeemer is the fourth Christian post-secondary school into which CAUT has launched an inquiry over alleged restrictions on academic freedom. Redeemer president Hubert Krygsman says the inquiry is biased and its outcome likely pre-determined. A group of academics is calling on CAUT to end its investigations into Christian institutions. Redeemer News | National Post

NS to establish student-loan debt cap

Within the next few weeks, Nova Scotia's advanced education minister will meet with student leaders to discuss the introduction of a debt cap, loan limits, and a change to the loan-to-grant ratio, based on need. Marilyn More says the debt cap will also reduce the need for graduates to leave Nova Scotia because of high debt loads. By pairing this initiative and the graduate retention rebate with the province's efforts to attract new, cutting-edge businesses and investors, "our graduates will have significant opportunities to live, work and prosper in Nova Scotia." The new student assistance initiatives come as the province plans to cap tuition fee increases at 3% and reduce university funding by 4%, a move criticized by students, professors, and university staff. NS News Release | Canadian Press

Francophone students at Laurentian worry French-language program cuts loom

On Tuesday, Laurentian University's senate approved an academic plan francophone students argue will lead to cuts to French-language programs. Before the senate meeting, a group of francophone students held a demonstration on the ground floor of Laurentian's Parker building and blocked use of the building's elevators. While acknowledging that the university is facing significant budget issues, Laurentian's provost says the academic plan is not a budget document. "That would be a separate decision," he says. Laurentian president Dominic Giroux told the Sudbury Star that the institution is not in the business of cutting programs, especially French-language ones. Sudbury Star

Applications from high school students to Ontario universities on the rise

According to new data from the Ontario Universities' Application Centre, the number of applications secondary school students have sent to Ontario universities sits at 386,781, up 1.7% from February 2010. The number of applicants totals 89,181, up from 87,407 recorded in February 2010. This month's application and applicant figures are the highest recorded since the application boom in 2003, the year the Ontario Academic Credit year (Grade 13) was phased out. OUAC Undergraduate Application Statistics -- February 2011

UBC board approves creation of student housing financing endowment

The University of British Columbia's board of governors has unanimously approved the formation of a student housing financing endowment that will direct a large portion of land lease proceeds from creating the residential Utown@UBC community on the Vancouver campus toward student housing projects. Responding to student concerns, the board has set a goal of 50% of full-time undergraduates living on campus. The endowment will allow UBC to pursue student housing objectives without incurring the additional cost of market borrowing normally required as student housing projects do not receive government funding. UBC News Release

uToronto leases land for private student residence

The University of Toronto has leased a piece of land it owns to a private developer who bought a lot adjacent to the land and is promising to construct a luxurious $120-million residence to accommodate more than 1,000 students. The facility will be one of the first for-profit residences built on university land. The housing will serve foreign students and, to a lesser extent, graduate and out-of-province students. The project, announced last summer, was only formally submitted to the City of Toronto in December, and a preliminary report was recently sent to Toronto and East York Community Council. The developer says uToronto "needs bigger, shinier buildings to compete internationally" with US and European institutions, many of which have added first-class residences over the years. Toronto Star

Majority of 905 residents polled concerned about PSE access

According to a new poll of voters in the 905 area code (Niagara Peninsula, Hamilton, Oshawa, and suburban GTA), 80% of respondents are concerned about the accessibility of PSE, while 70% believe tuition fees are too high. 65% feel freezing PSE funding would harm the higher education system, compared to just 4% who believe such a freeze would have a positive effect. 67% of 905 residents polled say the Ontario government should not use a PSE funding freeze to address the province's budget crunch, and 72% believe higher education should be a high priority for the government. OCUFA News Release

Centennial to deliver automotive skills training in Egypt

Centennial College has won a contract to develop and manage an automotive training academy in Egypt. Over the next 4 years, the Toronto-based institution will develop and implement a corporate training academy in Cairo for Ghabbour Auto, which will serve the career development needs of over 5,000 employees in the automotive company's manufacturing, distribution, sales, service, and corporate administration divisions. Centennial has an 8-year track record of supporting local skilled-labour development in Middle Eastern and North African nations. Centennial News Release