OTTAWA, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - A majority of Ottawa voters believe tuition fees
are too high, according to new poll data released today. At the same
time, many respondents indicate skepticism over the Government of
Ontario's record on higher education.
According to the results of a new study conducted regarding
post-secondary education by the Ontario Confederation of University
Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and the Canadian Federation of
Students-Ontario (CFS-O), 55 per cent of respondents think tuition has
risen to unacceptable levels, while 65 per cent of those polled believe
that the current government has not performed any better than the
previous Harris Conservative government in terms of the higher
"It is certainly worrisome for the government that, despite the
attention it has devoted to the post-secondary sector, the public
remains unconvinced." says Dr. André Turcotte, professor at Carleton
University's School of Journalism and Communication and chief
investigator for this study. "As we approach an election this fall,
Dalton McGuinty should remind voters of the important investments his
government has made in higher education. More importantly, he should
address a front-of-mind issue concern of Ottawa voters - Ontario's high
level of tuition fees."
Under the Reaching Higher plan, the Liberal Government has invested nearly $6.2 billion in
Ontario's universities and colleges. However, tuition has also risen by
an average of 28 per cent over the past five years. Ontario now has the
highest tuition fees in Canada - an average of $6,307 per year for an
undergraduate student and nearly $9,000 for a graduate student.
"This poll shows that the people of Ottawa are deeply concerned about
the cost of college and university education," said Sandy Hudson,
Chairperson of the CFS-O. "Unless we bring our tuition fees under
control, it will be difficult for many students and their families to
recognize and appreciate the government's investments."
Other highlights from the survey suggest that Ottawa residents have
confidence in universities to manage themselves and deliver a high
quality education. Of those polled, 39 per cent think universities
should have more freedom in the way they are managed, compared to 12
per cent that think government should be more involved.
The public also has a high level of trust in university professors. In
Ottawa, 57% said that they trust university professors most to develop
a high-quality post-secondary curriculum, compared to 3% who said
government should develop educational programs. Moreover, 48% trust
university professors most to develop standards in post-secondary
education, compared to 9% who trust government to do so.
"Some observers have suggested that faculty and institutions have not
been spending public dollars effectively. These poll results indicate
the majority simply do not agree," said Professor Mark Langer,
President of OCUFA. "Clearly, Ottawa residents trust universities and
university professors to safeguard the quality of higher education."
The results of this study are based on a poll of 1800 Ontarians over the
age of 18 conducted between January 5 and 14, 2011. The Ottawa results
are based on a sample of 300 residents over the age of 18. The margin
of error for the Ottawa sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points within a
confidence interval of 95%.
This is the second wave of findings released to date. The first findings
were released on Friday January 21, 2011 and examined Ontarians'
attitudes towards the internationalization of post-secondary education.
More results will be unveiled over the next four weeks in Hamilton
(February 9), Kitchener-Waterloo (March 2) and Toronto (March 15). For
more details and complete results please visit http://www.ocufa.on.ca.
The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is the
voice of 17,000 university professors and academic librarians across
Ontario. The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario unites more than
300,000 college and university undergraduate and graduate students
studying at post-secondary institutions across the province
SOURCE Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
For further information:
Graeme Stewart, Communications and Government Relations Manager, Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations: 647-280-3175
Nora Loreto, Communications and Government Relations Coordinator, CFS-Ontario: 416-925-3825or416-846-6672