Larger university enrolments outpace funding, quality at risk: professors



    TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - Because of larger-than-anticipated enrolment
increases, the Liberal Government's $6.2-billion increase to post-secondary
education, announced in 2005, will have a minimal impact on the quality of
education offered Ontario students, says a research study released today by
the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.
    "The increased funding, while welcome and well-intended, is not enough,"
said OCUFA president, Professor Brian E. Brown. "We will continue to see
deteriorating student-faculty ratios, overcrowded facilities, and insufficient
resources for basic research."
    The OCUFA study, Leading Higher: Funding for Ontario Universities, shows
the Liberal Government's Reaching Higher plan, unveiled in 2005, will increase
per-student funding by only one per cent over the plan's five-year
implementation period.
    With the province's future prosperity dependent on its ability to prevail
in the global economy, Ontario's economic competitiveness is frequently
compared to other jurisdictions, the study notes.
    Even though the economic well-being of a society - and of individuals -
is strongly correlated to their achievements in higher education, Ontario
fares poorly in comparisons, the report emphasizes.
    "For more than a decade, Ontario has placed second last in Canada in its
financial support for higher education. The province's funding level for
higher education is now 25 per cent below the Canadian average," Brown said.
    "Comparisons with American jurisdictions' support for higher education
are also troubling, with Ontario providing one-third less than appropriations
from American state governments," he said.
    According to the OCUFA study, for Ontario to reach the Canadian average
by 2009-2010 will require a significant boost in government support for
universities, up from the currently planned $3.2 billion in 2009-2010 to
$4.2 billion that year.
    To reach American standards will require even more, at least
$4.4 billion, especially as American jurisdictions are increasing their
funding at a rate twice the inflation rate.
    Notably, such increases would not be out of line with the financial
support Ontario devoted to universities in the 1970s, a period that witnessed
a similar enrolment expansion, neither as a proportion of Ontario's GDP nor
the provincial Budget.

    
    OCUFA recommends the Ontario government:

    -   Immediately commit $1.6 billion more a year to universities

    -   Direct all $350 million of the anticipated increase in federal
        transfer payments towards augmenting its support for universities
        instead of using it to replace previously committed provincial
        funding.
    




For further information:

For further information: Henry Mandelbaum, Executive Director, (416)
979-2117, Ext. 229, hmandelbaum@ocufa.on.ca, or Mark Rosenfeld, Associate
Executive Director, (416) 979-2117, Ext. 233, mrosenfeld@ocufa.on.ca

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Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

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