Ontario universities celebrate student success and an injection of new operating funding



    TORONTO, May 14 /CNW/ - Student success and the continued commitment of
the Ontario government to higher education were celebrated by the Council of
Ontario Universities (COU) today in response to an infusion of operating
funding for the sector announced by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and
Universities.
    In a speech today, Minister John Milloy indicated that universities and
colleges would receive $150 million of immediate, one-time operating funding
to accompany the province's annual operating grants for the sector. Milloy
also outlined the achievements of the government's highly lauded Reaching
Higher funding plan. These achievements include higher graduation rates -
which are critical to the government's economic agenda of developing "the best
educated workforce."
    "We are proud of the gains that have been made in student success as a
result of the Reaching Higher plan," said Dr. Peter George, Chair of COU and
President of McMaster University. "We also applaud the investment of
additional operating funding, which is vital to the financial health of our
institutions and to sustaining the teaching and research environment for our
students."
    In addition to enjoying higher graduation rates, Ontario universities are
experiencing increasing numbers of students applying to their institutions.
Once Ontario university students graduate, their employment rate is 94% after
six months and 96.9% after two years. They are sought after across Canada and
around the world because Ontario university degrees are so highly regarded by
employers.
    Reaching Higher, which was announced in 2005, provided funding until the
end of the fiscal year 2009-10, supporting Ontario universities through
stable, long-term planning and an important increase in operating funding. In
the recent 2009 Ontario budget, the government protected the planned increases
in operating funding for 2009-10.
    "We are excited by what has been achieved to date and enthusiastic about
working with government on the next phase of a long-term operating plan," said
Dr. Paul C. Genest, President of COU. "Sustainable funding ensures that our
universities can achieve Ontario's goals in developing talent and innovative
research, both of which are central to the future growth of the province.
Today's funding investment will help institutions to address some of the
significant financial pressures they are facing as well as protect
knowledge-sector jobs."
    "The Ontario government has been a leader in advancing higher education
and Ontario's universities are proud to be partners in fostering the talent
and innovation that drives our economy," Genest added.





For further information:

For further information: Peter George, Council Chair & President of
McMaster University, (905) 525-9140 x 24340, presdnt@mcmaster.ca; Paul C.
Genest, COU President & CEO, (416) 616-7231, pgenest@cou.on.ca


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