Data Check: Ontario’s university funding falls further behind

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The latest release of Financial Information of Universities and Colleges offers little reason for optimism that the Ontario’s university funding gap will be closed any time soon. A brief respite courtesy of the Ontario government’s Reaching Higher plan notwithstanding, per-student provincial operating funding for Ontario’s universities has lagged the average in the rest of Canada by ever greater amounts for almost two decades. By 2011-12, Ontario universities received 35 per cent less operating funding from the provincial government than the average in the rest of Canada.
The gap is widening more quickly once the full range of provincial support (beyond basic operating funds) for university activities in teaching, research, and community service is taken into account. In 2000-01, the gap was “only” 20 per cent. It has now increased to 38 per cent.
Much of the funding shortfall has been made up with skyrocketing tuition fees; this is well known. However, even after taking into account scholarships paid from operating funds, the contribution from student tuition and fees – high as they are – still leaves a significant gap. In 2000-01, it was a manageable three per cent; in 2011-12 it was 16 per cent.
Source: Canadian Association of University Business Officers, Financial Information of Universities and Colleges
Statistics Canada, Postsecondary Student Information System; Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada; Association of Atlantic Universities; Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec, Council of Ontario Universities, British Columbia Higher Education Accountability Dataset

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