Applications to Ontario colleges grow at much higher rate than universities

TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - Applications to full-time fall programs at Ontario's colleges have increased 14 per cent this year, significantly higher than the 2.7 per cent increase reported by universities.

"Increasing numbers of people are seeing the strong, direct link between a college education and a meaningful career," said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "People understand the importance of exploring their options in higher education and choosing the programs that best prepare them for their career goals. In many cases, those programs are offered at Ontario's colleges."

In total, 100,495 people have applied to Ontario college programs for this fall.

Each year, about 40 per cent of applicants apply directly from high school. These applications increased by 8.6 per cent over last year. Non-direct applicants (people who do not apply directly from high school) increased by 20.2 per cent this year.

Franklin said career-focused higher education is particularly important in this economy, when people are looking for education, training and retraining opportunities.

"About 90 per cent of college graduates find work within six months of graduation," Franklin said. "This is a very attractive outcome in any economy, but particularly in the current one."

Feb. 1 was the deadline to apply to over-subscribed programs such as Paramedic, Dental Hygiene or Practical Nursing. Since 2000, applicants for the September start of oversubscribed programs have increased by 32.8 per cent, to 100,495 in 2010 from 75,678 in 2000.

Many applicants are people seeking retraining through the Ontario government's Second Career programs. Students in Second Career programs are funded separately from students and colleges are able to deliver programs to these students while continuing to serve high school graduates and other applicants.

However, Franklin said colleges do face pressure to find the capacity to address the huge demand in Ontario for college education.

"The popularity of our colleges speaks to their success, but also emphasizes the need to fund our colleges sufficiently to deliver the education our communities need," Franklin said.

"We must partner with the government to fund enrolment growth so that all qualified applicants can get the education they need to find good jobs."

Colleges Ontario is the voice of Ontario's 24 colleges of applied arts and technology. Ontario colleges serve about 200 communities throughout the province, delivering a wide range of career-focused education and training programs to more than 200,000 full-time and 300,000 part-time students.

SOURCE Colleges Ontario

For further information: For further information: Sally Ritchie, Senior Communications Officer, Colleges Ontario, (416) 596-0744 ext. 242


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