College enrolment increases by six per cent in 2007

    More than 94,000 registered in first-year programs

    TORONTO, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - First-year enrolment at Ontario's 24 colleges has
increased six per cent per cent this year, with more than 94,000 people
enrolling in first-year programs.
    Statistics from the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) show the
number of full-time, first-year students climbed to more than 94,000 in 2007,
an increase of approximately 5,000 students over last year.
    "This record enrolment indicates that more and more people are realizing
the benefits of the career-focused education and training provided at
Ontario's 24 colleges," said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges
    Franklin said almost 60 per cent of first-year postsecondary students in
Ontario attend college, compared with just over 40 per cent who enter
university. Like universities, which are expecting a five per cent enrolment
increase this year, colleges are facing tremendous cost pressures as a result
of this surge in enrolment.
    Ontario's colleges currently serve 51 per cent more students than in
1989-90, but receive 29 per cent less operating funding per student in
constant dollars. "The growing demand for college education is putting huge
cost pressures on the system and constraining the ability of colleges to
maintain or improve their programs and facilities," Franklin said.
    Franklin added that while the enrolment growth at colleges is a positive
sign, Ontario will need to see even more people enrolling in colleges in the
years ahead.
    "Ontario faces a skills shortage of more than 360,000 people by 2025, due
to the wave of retiring baby boomers and slowing population growth," Franklin
said. "Furthermore, global competition and technology-driven changes are
placing greater demands on existing employees and driving layoffs in some
sectors today. Ontario needs a comprehensive strategy to address these
challenges, and colleges will be central to the success of that strategy."
    Franklin said 70 per cent of new jobs require a postsecondary credential,
but only half of Ontario high school students go directly to college or
university after graduation.
    "Ontario's political leaders and election candidates must support
meaningful targets for producing greater numbers of college graduates, and for
retraining greater numbers of people in the workforce in order to avert the
looming skills shortage," Franklin said. "Furthermore, Ontario must ensure
colleges have the improved funding that is essential to meeting these targets.

For further information:

For further information: Darrell Neufeld, Senior Communications Officer,
(416) 596-0744, ext. 242

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