Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario releases two new research papers on higher education accessibility and student financial aid

    TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
(HEQCO) is pleased to announce the release of two commissioned research papers
by the Educational Policy Institute (EPI). The first deals with access and
persistence within Ontario's postsecondary system. The second, a joint project
with the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (CMSF), explores the
financial grants and awards for students provided by colleges and
universities. Together, these papers represent an important contribution to
HEQCO's ongoing research on the accessibility of higher education in Ontario.
    "Today's release provides important foundation research on postsecondary
access and persistence, as well as on the student financial aid provided by
colleges and universities," said Dr. Ken Norrie, vice president of research
for HEQCO. "These papers enhance our knowledge of the barriers to
participation in higher education, and how postsecondary institutions are
working to provide financial support to their students."

    The papers released today are:

    -   Access, Persistence, and Barriers in Postsecondary Education: A
        Literature Review and Outline of Future Research serves as an
        overview of the current state of social science research on access
        to, and retention within, postsecondary education systems. It
        identifies gaps in our present knowledge and recommends ways in which
        they can be filled through a program of research.

    -   Institutional Student Financial Grants in Ontario analyzes the need-
        and merit-based financial awards provided to students by Ontario
        colleges and universities. Ontario leads the country in both the
        value and number of institutional need-based grants, thanks to the
        influence of several key government policies.

        This paper represents one part of a joint project with the Canada
        Millennium Scholarship Foundation (CMSF) to study need- and merit-
        based grants at Canadian postsecondary institutions.

    "The Council is pleased to work with the Canada Millennium Scholarship
Foundation on this important project," said Dr. James Downey, president and
CEO of HEQCO. "The participation of The Foundation has enriched the depth and
breadth of our research into institutional student financial aid in Ontario
and Canada."
    In the coming months, HEQCO will conduct research into postsecondary
access for Aboriginal individuals, first generation students, and students
with disabilities. The council will also be conducting a major study into how
financial awards can be used to improve student performance and persistence in
higher education.

    About the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

    The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario is an arm's length agency
of the Government of Ontario dedicated to ensuring the continued improvement
of the postsecondary education system in Ontario. The Council was created
through the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Act, 2005. It is
mandated to conduct research, evaluate the postsecondary education system, and
provide policy recommendations to the Minister of Training, Colleges and
Universities with a view to enhance the quality, access, and accountability of
Ontario's higher education system.

For further information:

For further information: Ainsley Matthews, Events and Communications
Coordinator, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, (416) 212-5248,
amatthews@heqco.ca, www.heqco.ca

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Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

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