Top Ten

June 6, 2011

Student debt in Canada reaches $20 billion

The Financial Post reports that almost 2 million Canadians have student loans, a debt worth about $20 billion, which includes federal and provincial government loans and personal debt in the form of credit cards, family loans, and lines of credit all used to finance higher education. That figure is only set to rise as student loans owed to the federal government alone increase by $1.2 million a day. Currently, the amount of unrecoverable student loan debt sits at $149.5 million. The number of young people with debt loads of $25,000 or more when they leave PSE sits at 27%, up from 17% in 1995. By 2009, the average debt for university graduates totalled $26,680. Financial Post

uManitoba math prof was harassing student, says university president

A University of Manitoba math professor accused a controversial PhD student of abusing the institution's system of accommodating disabilities -- to the point of harassing the student, uManitoba president David Barnard testified yesterday in a grievance brought by Gábor Lukács, whom the institution suspended without pay for 3 months last fall. Barnard said he felt disappointed when he realized the professor was not only ignoring repeated orders from university administrators to drop the student's case, but was also disseminating the student's name and details about his personal health issues. uManitoba awarded the student his doctorate despite him twice failing a mandatory exam. The institution waived the requirement after the student claimed he suffered from extreme exam anxiety. Winnipeg Free Press

Report outlines recommendations for Ontario Online Institute

A recent report prepared for the Ontario government recommends that an Ontario Online Institute (OOI) focus its marketing efforts on promoting online learning from across the higher education sector as equal to traditional campus-based learning and equally linked to excellence and innovation instead of an OOI itself. The report states an OOI should focus significant energies and efforts on boosting access to education and training for francophones. The report recommends that an OOI should target under-represented groups while helping mainstream students. Read the report

Canadore nursing students won't have to pay extra costs for longer program

Canadore College practical nursing students will not have to pay more for on-campus housing or public transit after finding out well into their program that it will end later than they expected. Canadore president George Burton says the institution is awaiting formal notice that Second Career funding will continue for students to the end of the longer semester, although he says he has already received assurances that will happen. Some nursing students called a meeting with the president in April over concerns about the longer term. Burton acknowledges that students should have been notified sooner, adding most colleges are following the expanded timeline, which improves the success rate among students who write the College of Nurses of Ontario exam. North Bay Nugget

Summer enrolment rises at Georgian College

For the first time summer semester enrolment at Georgian College has well exceeded the 3,000 mark, representing a 33% increase in domestic student enrolment and a 46% increase in foreign student enrolment over this time last year. The enrolment increases are being seen across all college campuses in study areas such as business, community studies, marine training, and health and wellness. Georgian College News Release

Lakehead Orillia, YMCA partner to give students access to athletic facilities

Students at Lakehead University's Orillia campus will have access to a wide range of athletic facilities and services through a partnership between the institution and the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. Beginning in September, all full-time students will have access to YMCA facilities throughout Simcoe/Muskoka as part of their existing athletic fees, which were instituted last year to support recreation activities, intramurals, competitive sports, and special events. While many students took advantage of available programs, some were interested in additional opportunities. "The number one comment from students concerning athletics was the need for access to a gym facility," says a Lakehead Orillia official. Lakehead News Release

uAlberta plans to build cyclotron to produce isotopes

The University of Alberta is set to move forward with a pilot project using new cyclotron technology to develop radioactive medical isotopes that diagnose cancers and heart disease for Western Canada. One possible site for the project, which is a partnership with the federal government and a BC manufacturer, is the old Balmoral Curling Club on uAlberta's south campus. While no final decision has been made on the site, construction could start this summer after the community is consulted this month. Edmonton Journal

CFS-O launches campaign to engage youth in provincial election

Yesterday the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students launched Take it Over, a campaign to engage students and youth to vote in the provincial election this fall. The campaign aims to boost youth voter turnout and to promote students' priorities in the election. Students across Ontario will organize actions on the sixth day of each month leading up to the election, which takes place October 6. CFS-O News Release | CFS-O website

British academics to launch private humanities institution

A group of prominent British academics -- including Richard Dawkins, Simon Blackburn, and Niall Ferguson -- plans to launch a private university college that will specialize in the arts and humanities and charge tuition fees of £18,000 (nearly $30,000) annually. The New College of the Humanities will admit its first undergraduate students in October 2012, offering degrees validated by the University of London. The institution will offer degrees in economics, English literature, history, law, and philosophy. Students will be required to take 3 "intellectual skills" modules in science literacy, logic and critical thinking, and applied ethics. A proponent of the institution suggests the school is being launched as a direct response to the British government's decision to withdraw public funding from PSE in general, and the arts and humanities in particular. Times Higher Education

Web access a human right, says UN report

A new United Nations report states that disconnecting people from the Internet is a human rights violation and against international law. The report rallies against the UK and France, which have adopted laws to remove accused copyright scofflaws from the Internet. The report also protests blocking Internet access to quell political unrest. UN News Release | Wired | Read the report