Top Ten

June 14, 2012

PSE improvements a priority in addressing sluggish productivity growth, says OECD

In its latest Economic Survey of Canada, the OECD identifies 2 key priorities for meeting the economy's long-term challenge of sluggish productivity growth: boosting innovation and investing further to improve both quality and access to higher education. The report suggests that student financial aid should become more targeted and granted on a means-tested basis, which would help reduce obstacles for financially disadvantaged students and promote socially inclusive growth. The OECD says Canada should seek to attract more international students into its PSE system and make it easier for them to work and stay in the country after graduation. The report also recommends that universities be differentiated between research-intensive and teaching-oriented institutions. OECD News Release | Economic Survey of Canada 2012

Toronto councillors vote against private student residence

Toronto and East York Community Council voted against a privately-run student residence on Wednesday after hearing from numerous residents opposed to the project's height and scale. Knightstone Capital Management proposed the 24-storey, 759-bed residence after leasing land from the University of Toronto in 2008. It was the first time uToronto had ever entered into an agreement to construct off-campus accommodations with a private developer. The residence would have a loose association with uToronto, but any student could apply to reside there and the residence would be operated by a Chicago company. Toronto Star

Manitoba to train more doctors, nurse practitioners

Manitoba is moving forward to train and hire more physicians and nurse practitioners as part of its plan to ensure all Manitobans have access to a family doctor by 2015, Premier Greg Selinger announced Wednesday. The province plans to fund 14 additional family medicine residencies, as well as add 3 more nurse practitioner training seats this fall. Manitoba News Release | Winnipeg Free Press

Alberta program to match graduates with overseas employment

The Alberta government intends to establish this fall the Alberta Externship Program, a new initiative matching recent PSE graduates with work in partnering nations. Albertans ages 19 to 30 who have completed an approved degree, diploma, or certificate in the last 2 years will be eligible for "externships" of between 6 months and a year. The program is designed to give young people an opportunity to obtain international experience while improving Alberta's relations with regions such as Asia, Europe or Central and South America. Calgary Herald

Quest U to build 5 new student residences

BC-based Quest University has started construction on the first of 5 new residences to accommodate the institution's rapidly growing student population. As of September 2012, Quest U will have grown from its initial 72 students and 7 faculty members to 425 students and 31 full-time faculty in just 5 years. With applications up nearly 50% this year, the independent liberal arts and science institution is on track to meet its target of 180 new students for fall 2013 when the first residence building will be completed. Quest U News Release

Queen's to resume BFA admissions in 2013

Queen's University will reinstate admissions to its Bachelor of Fine Arts program for the 2013-14 academic year following a re-assessment of the program. Queen's announced last November the suspension of new enrolments in the BFA for 2012-13 due to a shortage of resources needed to sustain the program. Queen's News Centre

Literacy test results suggest applied English in Ontario high schools should be reviewed

According to results from this year's Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, 82% of the Grade 10 students who wrote the test were successful. A closer look at the findings points to a 70/30 split in student achievement. 71% of test-takers were enrolled in the academic English course this year and 93% were successful. The results are different for the remaining 30%. For example, although 22% of test-takers are enrolled in the applied English course, students from this course represent 58% of those who were unsuccessful. Since this pattern has been observed for a number of years, the results suggest the effectiveness of the applied English course should be reviewed. EQAO News Release

US Education Department releases new data on college cost

On Tuesday the US Department of Education released its second annual edition of college-cost data, publishing lists of the most- and least-expensive PSE institutions by sector. The most expensive private colleges, by tuition, are mostly elite schools in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, with Connecticut College -- at nearly US$44,000 -- taking the top spot. Having seen significant cuts to PSE spending under its current governor, Pennsylvania continues to lead the US in having some of the most expensive public institutions. Deep budget cuts are also prompting tuition fee increases in other states. Overall, the average sticker price at 4-year public colleges jumped by 15% over last year. In some states, the increase was as high as 40%. On the less expensive side are Florida's public colleges, which have historically been restrained by the state legislature from increasing tuition fees. US Department of Education College Affordability and Transparency Center | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

70% of US teens without jobs this summer

Fewer than 3 in 10 teenagers in the US now hold jobs from June to August, reports the Associated Press. The decline has been particularly sharp since 2000, with employment for 16-to-19-year-olds dropping to the lowest level since World War II. A projection by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests teen employment may never return to pre-recession levels. Associated Press

International-student growth to slow down, says British report

In a new report the British Council says universities should expect a global slowdown of incoming overseas students in the next 10 years. The study of economic and demographic trends predicts that the UK will attract an additional 30,000 international students over the next decade, slightly more than the US. Only Australia is anticipated to benefit from greater gains in its international-student intake by 2022. The increase represents a far smaller rate of growth than UK universities have seen in the past decade, warns the report. Between 2002-03 and 2010-11, international student numbers grew by 180,000. Times Higher Education