Ontario expands choice and excellence for students in colleges and universities

Archived Release

Ontario expands choice and excellence for students in colleges and universities

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - Ontario's post-secondary students are one step closer to enjoying expanded choice and excellence in colleges and universities under legislation to be introduced later today by Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Dianne Cunningham.
"Our government is promoting excellence throughout the post-secondary system by giving students the opportunity to choose privately funded institutions," said Cunningham. "Today's announcement is an important step forward in improving quality of education in our colleges and universities."
If passed by the Legislature, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Statute Law Amendment Act, 2000, would establish the Post- secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, which would create the Post- secondary Education Quality Assessment Board, an organization to provide advice on new degree programs - including those proposed by privately funded institutions in Ontario.
The proposed legislation would also allow colleges of applied arts and technology to grant applied degrees.
"Over thirty-five years ago, the province proposed controversial changes to post-secondary education with the creation of community colleges," said Cunningham. "We know today's announcement is controversial but our government also knows it is critical to making the system more responsive to the needs of students."
The Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act would also ensure that the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is being properly administered in colleges and universities by creating new provincial offences to crack down on fraud and abuse.
"Students, parents and other taxpayers can count on our government to ensure that student loan dollars are being spent wisely and only on providing quality education," Cunningham said.

Backgrounder
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ONTARIO'S COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION

October 19, 2000

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Statute Law Amendment Act, 2000, if passed, will be one component of a comprehensive plan to prepare Ontario's postsecondary education system for the future.

If enacted, the legislation would:

- allow the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to give
consents to new degree-granting institutions in Ontario
- allow the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities to give
consent to colleges of applied arts and technology to grant
baccalaureate degrees in applied areas of study
- enshrine the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board in law
and require that applications for consent first be referred to the
Board, which would assess them and make recommendations for approval
or denial to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
- require that the Minister be assured that all new private
postsecondary institutions provide appropriate financial protection
for students before they are given degree-granting authority
- specify that new private institutions would not be entitled to any
Government funding
- create new provincial offences for OSAP abuse with fines as high as
$25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for offending corporations

Other elements of the plan already in place include:

- To meet the projected increase in demand for spaces in Ontario's
colleges and universities, the government is investing $1 billion in
campuses across Ontario through the Ontario SuperBuild Corporation.
The recent SuperBuild initiative is the single largest capital
investment in 30 years. This commitment, together with funding from
partners, will lead to the spending of $1.8 billion to renew and
expand colleges and universities and create 73,000 new student places.
- The Ontario government has been working to ensure postsecondary
programs are more responsive to the needs of local communities. This
includes establishing the new standard of a four-year baccalaureate
degree in nursing to improve the quality of health care available in
Ontario.
- To give students and parents the information they need to make
informed choices, colleges and universities are required to make
information publicly available about the employment, graduation and
Ontario Student Assistance Program loan default rates for all
programs.
- Through the Access to Opportunities Program, the government made a
three-year $228 million investment to create 23,000 new spaces for
students in high tech programs. The private sector is contributing
another $136 million to this program which prepares students for
careers in high demand areas in the economy.
- To help students and parents plan for their education, the Ontario
Government this year announced that tuition increases will be capped
at two per cent per year for five years.
- New "Aiming for the Top" scholarships - available for the first time
this fall - will recognize high school students with top marks. More
than 4,000 scholarships have been awarded this fall. When fully
implemented, $35 million annually will be invested in these tuition
scholarships that recognize both academic excellence and financial
need.
- In 1999-2000, the province spent about $760 million for financial
assistance through the Ontario Student Assistance Program, assisting
approximately 180,000 post secondary students.

The legislation being introduced later today would, if passed by the legislature, complement these initiatives by bringing Ontario students are one step closer to enjoying the full range of high-quality opportunities for postsecondary education that are available to their counterparts in competing jurisdictions.
For further information: Kerry Delaney, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1625; Dave Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2709