Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Universities: the Ford government pointed the finger

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Universities in Ontario need a “significant increase” in government funding, according to University of Waterloo Dean James Rush. (Archive photo)


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Ontario should increase its funding for post-secondary institutions by 10%, in addition to ending the tuition freeze, says a provincial expert panel, saying the finances of colleges and universities are “at risk”. risk” currently.

Institutions faced a reduction in tuition fees in 2019-2020, followed by a freeze since.< /p>

The province's expert panel recommends a 5% increase in its report released last week.

Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, has encouraged post-secondary institutions to find more savings in their budgets. Without closing the door to a thaw, she recalled that the government offered them more than $5 billion per year in funding.

The provincial panel concludes, however, that post-secondary institutions already appear to be managing public funds well and that they need more money from the government:

For consultant Alex Usher, of the firm Higher Education Strategy Associates, Doug Ford's government formed this working group to justify the end of the tuition freeze, but now finds itself being singled out by its own experts for its lack of funding.

Ontario lags far behind others provinces in terms of funding.

A quote from Alex Usher, consultant

According to him, Ontario should increase its annual funding to universities by 4 billion to reach the national average. There are not 4 billion in savings in the system, he says.

For its part, the provincial working group recommends reductions in spending on administration and information technology, in particular.

James Rush, dean at the University of Waterloo, says there is currently an imbalance in university funding.

Universities badly need a marked increase in their government funding.

A quote from James Rush, Academic Vice-President, University of Waterloo

According to him, the freezing of tuition fees and provincial funding has resulted in a lot of challenges for Waterloo, which faces a deficit of 15 million this year.

Same story with the small University of Nipissing, in North Bay. We have been trying to find savings for over 10 years. We have probably already reduced the number of employees too much, says rector Kevin Wamsley.

That has to change, because the system is in trouble, he says.

Ontario universities are urgently urging the province to immediately end the freeze on tuition and fees. increase funding so students can continue to rely on the programs and services they have and deserve, says Steve Orsini, CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, in a written statement .

Based on information provided by Mike Crawley ofCBC News< em>


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