Ontario Universities Still in High Demand, Despite Dip in University-Age Population

TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - Applications by high school students to Ontario universities remained at last year's high level, even though the number of university-aged people is shrinking.

Almost 88,000 secondary school students filed more than 404,700 applications for spots at Ontario's 20 publicly funded universities for the 2016 academic year – down just 0.1 per cent over last year's levels.

"University applications are stable in the face of a declining population of young people because they are fulfilling people's hopes and dreams, and setting them up for success in their lives and careers," says David Lindsay, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).

"To universities, these aren't just statistics. Behind every application there is a person with dreams, there are families with aspirations for their loved ones. These university hopefuls are making the best choice possible for their future well-being."

Over the past 25 years, the proportion of 18-20 year old Ontarians that attend university has increased by about 50 per cent. The data released by the Ontario Universities' Application Centre today suggests this trend is continuing.

Early indications are that the number of non-high school students applying to Ontario universities is up by more than three per cent to almost 30,000. Those applications are from those returning to university from the workforce, college students transferring to university, mature students and applicants from high schools in other provinces and overseas.

"The constant demand for a university education speaks to the tremendous value that universities bring – not the least of which is the impressively high employment rates for graduates," says Patrick Deane, COU Chair and President of McMaster University.

More than 93 per cent of undergraduates who graduated in 2012 had jobs two years later, and almost 88 per cent were in jobs six months after graduation. The average salary for university graduates working full time was more than $49,000.

The number of 18-20 year-olds is projected to decline at least until 2021 in all regions of Ontario, while at the same time the need for an educated and adaptable workforce will continue to grow. In the fast paced and ever changing global economy it will be important for Ontario to continue to invest in diversification and quality in Ontario's universities and to promote research and innovation for the new economy.

COU is the voice of Ontario's universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success

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SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information: Wendy McCann, Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations, 416-979-2165 x233, 647-271-0825 (cell), Email Wendy McCann (wmccann@cou.on.ca)


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