Demand for University Education Continues to Soar as Applications Rise Close to 5%

    TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - Applications to Ontario universities for the
fall of 2008 rose 4.8 % over the previous year, continuing a pattern of
year-over-year increases, which have been building for a decade in Ontario,
beginning even before the double cohort of students applied.
    "Increased funding from the Ontario government's Reaching Higher plan in
2005 has made university education more accessible for students," said
Dr. Paul Genest, President of the Council of Ontario Universities. "Demand is
also driven by the increasing recognition that more jobs in the knowledge
economy will require a university education - by some estimates 70 % of jobs
will require a degree in future."
    Ontario students are not only driving up university enrolment rates, they
are also boosting student participation rates as a growing number of them
choose to apply and participate in university education to secure better
career opportunities.
    "This is good news for the province, which needs more knowledge workers
to add value to our future economic growth through innovation and new business
activity," said Genest. "At the same time, it puts pressure for a robust
response. We have to provide faculty to teach these students and places for
    He indicated that "universities are collaborating with the provincial
government to ensure that the education and research provided by our
world-class network of universities is strategic not only to the students but
also to the province as a whole."
    There were 83,381 secondary school applicants for the fall of 2008
compared to 79,568 last year, a 4.8 % rise but a significant addition of 38.6%
since 2001, when there were 60,164 secondary school applicants.
    Since students apply to more than one university, total university
applications reached a total of 368,749 applications, compared to 350,759 in
the previous year, which was a 5.1% increase. The number of applications
exceeded expectations this year as it has in each of the past three years. It
is important to note that the Ontario Universities' Application Centre is
still processing applications.
    "The increased demand for university education is encouraging but the
sector will need help to maintain the quality of the learning experience for
students educated for the knowledge economy," said Genest. "Universities
provide an excellent preparation for the labour market with 92 % of university
graduates employed six months after graduation and 97 % after two years."

For further information:

For further information: Dr. Paul C. Genest, (416) 979-2165 ext. 256

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