Top Ten

March 15, 2011

Court rejects charitable tuition tax program involving TWU

The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling from the Tax Court, disallowing tax deductions claimed by 6 families who gave money to the National Foundation for Christian Leadership in 2002 and 2003 and received funding for a family member to attend Trinity Western University -- a creative tax program that judges said twisted the notion of charity beyond legal recognition. By providing funds to the foundation, the Tax Court judge said, the appellants significantly reduced the responsibility of paying tuition fees and other university-related expenses directly to their children or to the institution. TWU president Jonathan Raymond told the National Post he knew few specifics of the case, as the matter pre-dates his time at the university. National Post

PCTIA loses legal battle to stop keyword advertising by BC private colleges

The Supreme Court of BC has refused to grant an injunction sought by the province's Private-Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA), which launched a legal battle to stop Vancouver Career College, CDI College, and Vancouver College of Art and Design -- all of which are owned by Eminata Group -- from paying search engines for the right to use competitors' names as keywords and meta tags. The practice, called per-per-click advertising, made sure links to the 3 institutions' websites would appear near the top of the list whenever an individual searched for the names of the competitor schools. The Court ruled that PCTIA had not proven the practice was misleading. The parties in the case say this was the first time pay-per-click advertising had been considered in a Canadian court. Vancouver Sun

New BC premier consolidates PSE ministries

In announcing a new, smaller cabinet Monday, BC Premier Christy Clark reversed changes made last fall, when the responsibilities for higher education were split between 2 cabinet ministers -- a move that puzzled educators and students in the province. Responsibility for colleges and universities has now been recombined under the Ministry of Advanced Education. The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) welcomes the consolidation, but is disappointed to see the responsibility for the Industry Training Authority (ITA) had been moved to the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. FPSE will meet with the minister in charge of ITA to detail its concerns. BC News Release | FPSE News

College merger issue raised in Saskatchewan legislature

During question period in the Saskatchewan legislature Monday, the provincial NDP raised the issue of the proposed merger of Carlton Trail Regional College (CTRC) and St. Peter's College as a large delegation from the One Arrow First Nation looked on from the gallery. One Arrow's chief has expressed concern that CTRC's adult basic education program, used by First Nations students, could suffer under the merger. Other issues raised about the amalgamation include the impact on unionized workers at CTRC and the potential move of public assets to a private institution. The NDP's advanced education critic suggested the major problem has been a lack of transparency on the part of the governing Saskatchewan Party about the merger. The province is expected to release its decision on the merger this week. Saskatchewan NDP Caucus News | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

uWindsor turns down proposal from private PSE firm

Private education corporation Study Group had been working on a proposal for the University of Windsor to outsource an international student program on campus, but its plans have been scrapped after uWindsor president Alan Wildeman chose not to endorse the deal. Over the past year, a motion regarding a Study Group contract for uWindsor's business school was voted down by the senate, and motions involving other faculties were subsequently pulled from the table. The faculty association's president says the plan was "academically unsound." Royal Roads University recently formed a partnership with Study Group. CAUT Bulletin

WLU students' union pledges nearly $13 million to institution

Wilfrid Laurier University announced Monday a $12.7-million gift from its students' union. In a recent referendum, participating WLU students approved a Student Life Levy to fund this gift, to be spread over the next decade. The levy has been created to enhance student life at the institution, and will also be used to engage in activities leading to improved personal health and fitness, including a $5-million gift for an athletic complex fitness expansion. The donation will also be used to fund needs as determined by WLU and the students' union. WLU Headlines

GPRC reveals concept drawings showing potential future growth

At an event last week, Grande Prairie Regional College showcased concept drawings for the future of the Alberta-based institution. Included in the drawings were the new regional hospital planned on GPRC land and a new high school the institution wants to look at as well. GPRC president Don Gnatiuk says the college is looking at residences for the future and expanding sciences and opportunities for the arts. Acknowledging that the concepts drawn are just ideas, the college's vice-president external relations says GPRC needs to have a master plan given the growth of the institution. Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune

Majority of Northern Ontarians polled want PSE to be provincial priority

According to a new poll of voters in Northern Ontario, nearly three-quarters of respondents believe higher education should constitute an issue of "high priority" for the provincial government. 43% of those polled believe the quality of education offered at Ontario post-secondary institutions has stayed the same since Dalton McGuinty became premier, while a third say the quality of education has declined. 77% of respondents think current university tuition fees are "too high," while 11% believe current fees are reasonable - i.e., "about right." Nearly 8 in 10 of those polled are very or somewhat concerned regarding the ability of young Ontarians to attend university in the province. CFS-O News Release | Survey Results

Parents not intervening much in college students' matters, US study finds

According to new data presented this week at the annual meeting of NAPSA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, most college students are in frequent contact with their parents, but the latter are less likely to intervene than to encourage their children to resolve matters on their own. The proportion of parents involved in their children's lives was just as high this year (88.4%) as it was in 2007 (88.2%), but this year slightly fewer parents polled were "very involved" and more were "somewhat involved." Parents' intervention is most likely when it comes to financial matters, such as student aid and bills. About one-thirds of parents this year reported having contacted colleges on their children's behalf. Within that group, over 40% said their children had asked them to do so. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Canadians' Internet use nearly double global average

According to new data from comScore, Canadians spend more time on the Internet than anyone else on the planet. Figures show the average Canadian spends 43.5 hours a month online, nearly twice the global average of 23.1 hours. According to the report, the number of unique online visitors in Canada was approximately 23 million users in the fourth quarter of 2010, almost unchanged from the same period a year before. Of the 11 nations surveyed, Canada ranks first in the number of website visits per user per month. This high online engagement is attributed in part to easy access to high-speed Internet in the country. Globe and Mail