Strong rise in number of university applications and applicants across Ontario

TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - High school students continue to apply to Ontario universities in record numbers, continuing an 11-year trend of increasing demand for university education, according to the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).

The total number of first-year applicants rose by 2.2 per cent to 90,373 applicants at the January 11 deadline for secondary school applicants, while the number of applications they made rose by 2.4 per cent to 392,742, according to statistics collected from the Ontario Universities' Application Centre. In addition, the number of non-secondary school applicants has also risen 3.2 % to 19,373 over a comparable date last year with further increases expected through the spring and summer as they are subject to a different processing schedule.

"The continuous growth in the number of applications shows that students in Ontario place a strong emphasis on university education as a critical foundation for a successful future," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of COU and President of the University of Guelph. "They expect their degrees to prepare them for successful careers, and statistics show that students who complete their undergraduate programs at Ontario universities do, indeed, experience high employment and earning rates."

Even during the most challenging economic times, in the midst of the 2008 recession, 91.7 per cent of students who completed their undergraduate degrees at universities across the province were able to find a job within six months, and 93.8 per cent were able to do so within two years. The rising trend in applications shows that students continue to recognize the advantage that university education gives them in the employment market.

Moreover, jobs grew by 28 per cent for those with a university degree from 2004 to 2010, 17 per cent for those with a college credential, and four per cent for those with a high school diploma. Increased demand for university education is a 40-year trend that is expected to continue. This year's application numbers are also part of a continuing trend that has seen a 52.7 per cent growth in secondary school applicants since 2000.

"Ontario's youth represent the future of our province, and universities are giving them the critical thinking skills that prepare them for the jobs of today and those of tomorrow," says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO. "Over 83 per cent of graduates tell us in an annual survey that they get employment in their field of study after graduation. Our universities are committed to ensuring that students have access to education that will allow them to have rewarding and fulfilling careers."

For statistics and more information, visit http://www.ouac.on.ca/statistics/

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SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Jennifer Grass
Senior Director, Communications and Public Affairs
416-707-6787
jgrass@cou.on.ca


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