Data check: Ontario’s university funding gap continues to widen

| Comment

The gap in government funding between Ontario universities and American public universities has narrowed, albeit simply by default. But the gap in provincial funding between Ontario and the rest of Canada is headed in the other direction.
 
At its best in 2006-07, the rate of Ontario government operating, trust and research funding for teaching, research and service lagged the rest of Canada by 21 per cent. By 2010-11* the difference had stretched to 37 per cent. This gap has remained static for two years, if enrolment data from university associations and provincial government sources and expenditure estimates from provincial ministries of finance are an accurate indication.
 
Some of the difference is made up by Ontario universities from another revenue source subject to government policy – tuition. Once net student fees (tuition and other fees, minus scholarships paid from operating funds) are taken into account, the difference in provincially regulated income to universities gets smaller. But given the important social and economic mobility functions of universities, it is unacceptable to close the funding gap on the backs of students and their families.
 
For Ontario universities to attain a level of support comparable to the average in the rest of Canada would require between $1.4 and $1.6 billion more from the provincial government.
 
* Quebec universities changed their fiscal year end for 2010-11; excluding student enrolment, fees and scholarships, annual data for Quebec institutions are pro-rated according to the number of months reported for 2010-11.
 
Sources: Canadian Association of University Business Officers, Financial Information of Universities and Colleges
Statistics Canada, Postsecondary Student Information System

Leave a Reply