(THUNDER BAY, ON - Nov. 20, 2023) – Ontario’s colleges are calling for an immediate end to the province’s tuition freeze, a modest five percent tuition increase and enhanced investments in Ontario’s public college students.
“It’s essential to invest in the success of our students,” said Confederation College President, Kathleen Lynch. “Colleges need the financial support to ensure their future sustainability. The investments we make today will ensure more students acquire the expertise that leads to rewarding careers and fuels Ontario’s economic growth.”
The colleges’ urgent call for improved investments follows the release last week of a report by a provincial blue-ribbon panel of experts on financial stability in post-secondary education. Ontario’s public colleges support the panel’s work and appreciate the government establishing this process.
Public college graduates are and will continue to be a critical source of talent in the years ahead. College graduates will be particularly important to meet industry growth in key sectors such as advanced manufacturing, the electric-vehicle industry, mining, health care, nuclear energy and in the construction of 1.5-million new homes.
To ensure Ontario has a highly qualified workforce, the colleges are calling for:
An immediate end to the tuition freeze, and approval of a modest five percent increase in public college tuition for September 2024.
Increase provincial investment in public college students through a 10 percent increase in operating grants for September 2024.
The creation of a distinct tuition policy for public colleges that addresses the long-standing inequities between college and university education.
A lifting of the cap on high-demand programs to allow more students to enrol in programs where there is a great demand for graduates in the labour market.
Implement common-sense changes to create more opportunities for people to study part time.
Full details of the colleges’ recommendations to the government can be found in the public colleges’ statement of principles, which is now available online.
Public college tuition was cut in 2019 and has been frozen ever since. Ontario’s public colleges currently have the second-lowest tuition in Canada. The average Ontario public college tuition is around $2,700 per year for a full-time program.
Ontario’s public colleges already provide strong value for money. Colleges have found many ways to work together and find efficiencies such as shared bargaining and application service, collaborative purchasing, and collaborative curriculum development, among many other examples. Colleges know it is vital to continue to provide value for money and are always seeking additional areas of collaboration and potential efficiency gains.
“This is an opportunity to make a significant difference in students’ lives through a sustainable post secondary system that offers the range of programming our communities need,” Lynch said. “We must get this right.”
Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has seven regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Greenstone, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout and Red Lake, as well as a growing Distance Education division.
Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,000 combined full- and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 600 full- and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $707.3 million annually.
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