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Ontario On Track to Modernize University Funding

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Ontario On Track to Modernize University Funding

Consultations Help Move Postsecondary Education Transformation Forward

Ontario has taken the next step to develop a new sustainable, transparent and student-centered provincial university funding formula. 

In March 2015, Ontario appointed former Deputy Minister Suzanne Herbert to consult with the university sector on options to modernize the university funding model. Today the province formally received the report, which summarizes six months of extensive stakeholder consultation with sector experts, university leaders, student organizations, faculty and employers. The report recommends that a modernized university funding formula should:

  • Be guided by the continuous improvement of student outcomes, and initially focused on undergraduate learning
  • Provide a clear and consistent rationale for differences in funding allocations between institutions, and support differentiation among institutions
  • Be based on data that is validated, standardized and publicly available
  • Allow for predictable allocations to help institutions to plan for the long-term.

Ontario will review the report closely as it works further with stakeholders to develop a new, comprehensive funding formula and implementation plan.

Modernizing how universities are funded to improve the quality of student learning is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan.

Quick Facts

  • Ms. Herbert’s consultation concluded on September 1, 2015 and included more than 25 events with a range of participants, as well as monthly updates.
  • Ontario launched Ms. Herbert’s formal consultation on May 6, 2015 at a full-day seminar featuring 175 participants, including students, faculty, employers, and university leaders
  • Ontario universities are currently funded through an allocation model originally developed in 1967. The model allocates funding based largely on enrolment.
  • By the end of 2013-14, Ontario invested more than $3.5 billion in operating grants to universities, an increase of $1.63 billion or 86 per cent since 2002-03.
  • Full-time enrolment in Ontario’s postsecondary system has grown by more than 177,000 students since 2003 — more than in any decade in the province’s history.

Additional Resources


“I would like to thank Sue Herbert and her team for their hard work and commitment to open and extensive consultations throughout the development of this report. Our government is deeply committed to modernizing the university funding model in a way that puts students first, and the wide ranging information contained in this report will help inform the path forward to a more sustainable, quality-based and transparent postsecondary sector.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities

“This report, Focus on Outcomes, Centre on Students, indicates that changes to the funding model should be focused on improving outcomes, with an emphasis on student success as a first step. The current enrolment-driven formula has served the system well throughout an era of growth, and an outcomes lens will build on this success. An outcomes lens will require clear objectives, and relevant, comparable, and publicly available data.”

Suzanne Herbert

Executive Lead

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