Top Ten

June 2, 2011

BC urged to change approach to student-aid programs

The presidents of SFU, UBC, UNBC, and UVic have joined others calling on the BC government to improve financial assistance for PSE students to bring the province closer in line with what's offered in other provinces. The presidents say they are particularly concerned about the interest rate on student loans, which is the highest in Canada at 2.5% above prime. Student-aid programs need to be attractive to young people who are reluctant to pursue higher education due to the "sticker shock" they experience when they look at the price, says SFU president Andrew Petter. The university presidents say the province has to change its approach if it hopes to sell the benefits of PSE to groups that have not traditionally enrolled. The 4 institutions have submitted recommendations to BC's advanced education ministry, which is in the process of a review. Vancouver Sun

Report explores factors impacting educational pathways in Ontario

According to a new report from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), young people with highly educated parents, strong overall grades, and an academically engaged social network are the most likely to pursue higher education. Language of study appears to be a significant factor, the report observes. Ontario youth who graduated from the francophone system were twice as likely to attend PSE as students from the anglophone system. The report also found that Ontario students were more likely to pursue college or university than students in the rest of the country. These findings support the findings of a recent HEQCO commissioned study. Research Summary | Read the report

MUN business dean supports doubling of MBA tuition fees

In an interview with CBC Radio this week, Wilfred Zerbe, dean of Memorial University's Faculty of Business Administration, says he thinks the university's MBA tuition fees should rise substantially, from $4,400 to "possibly" as much as $10,000. The increase, Zerbe says, would allow the faculty to offer more new courses, more scholarships, and a dedicated career centre. In addition, the dean suggests higher tuition would attract more foreign students, because "they mis-perceive the low tuition as an indicator of low quality." CBC Radio | Maclean's OnCampus

Queen's senate approves School of Religion proposal

Queen's University's senate has approved a proposal that the Department of Religious Studies be known and constituted as the School of Religion in the Faculty of Arts and Science, conditional on, and following, a ratification of an agreement between the Queen's School of Religion and the university. The target date for the integration of the Queen's School of Religion and Queen's Theological College is May 1, 2012. Queen's News Centre | Proposal report

NSERC distributes nearly $30 million under CREATE Program

The federal government announced Wednesday that 18 projects at Canadian universities will receive $29.6 million over 6 years to help science and engineering graduates add job skills to their academic expertise. Distributed under NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program, the funding will support projects that explore a variety of research areas, such as neurotechnology, clean energy, freshwater conservation, and bionanotechnology. NSERC News Release

uSask opens Office of Aboriginal Initiatives off campus

The University of Saskatchewan is building on a tradition of bringing programming to and creating connections with First Nation and Métis communities in the province by opening an Office of Aboriginal Initiatives at the English River First Nation urban reserve. The office gives uSask an opportunity to offer expertise from its colleges, departments, and units for First Nation and Métis people. A high priority for the office is increased participation of First Nation and Métis people in uSask as faculty, staff, and students. uSask On Campus News

QS releases arts and humanities rankings

The QS World University Rankings by Subject -- Arts & Humanities are out, the fourth in a series of rankings based on universities' subjects. Brock, Carleton, Concordia, McGill, McMaster, Queen's, Ryerson, SFU, uAlberta, UBC, uCalgary, UoGuelph, uLaval, uMontréal, uOttawa, uQuébec, uToronto, UVic, uWaterloo, UWO, and York U placed among the top 200 institutions in one or more arts and humanities subjects: English language and literature, modern languages, history, philosophy, geography and area studies, and linguistics. 2011 QS World University Rankings by Subject -- Arts & Humanities

US government releases new "gainful employment" regulations

Yesterday the US Department of Education released final regulations requiring career college programs to better prepare students for "gainful employment" or risk losing access to federal student aid. Like the controversial draft rules the department proposed last summer, the final regulations focus on the amount of debt that students in for-profit and certificate programs incur, and on their prospects of paying it off. The final rules offer institutions significantly more leeway, lowering the required debt-to-income ratios and giving colleges more opportunities to improve before they lose eligibility for federal financial aid. US Department of Education News Release | Inside Higher Ed

Report finds just 5 US colleges do well by low-income students

According to a new report from Education Trust, a US-based research and advocacy group, there are 5 colleges that are doing a good job of serving low income students -- the Fullerton and Long Beach campuses of California State University, Baruch College and Queens College of the City University of New York, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The group's criteria includes 4-year colleges costing no more than $4,600 a year after all grants for students in households earning up to $30,000 a year, with at least a 50% 6-year graduation rate, and with Pell Grant recipients accounting for at least 30% of their enrolments. Initially set out to provide a "best value" list of colleges for low-income students, Education Trust was surprised when so few institutions met its benchmarks. Officials of some of the 5 colleges say they might no longer meet the bar in the future as a result of state budget cuts. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Young adults willing to change lifestyle based on sustainable values, survey finds

Young adults in Halifax, Montreal, and New York City have very specific ideas about what it takes to build a more sustainable world, and they are ready to change their behaviours to make such a world a reality, according to a new survey sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program, which surveyed 400 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. The research observes that for young people living in these 3 cities, living responsibly means consumption based on necessity, reducing car usage and adopting public transportation for routine travel. Among the practices young people are willing to adopt to improve the environment are buying local products, recycling, and composting. Concordia News Release