Access to what? OCUFA’s full analysis of the 2016 Ontario Budget

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Today, OCUFA is pleased to release its full analysis of the 2016 Ontario Budget. Access to What? recognizes the important changes that were made to student financial aid, but highlights how the lack of public investment in university operating budgets is undermining the student experience.

As the report notes:

While improving access to postsecondary education is a welcome policy goal, it is important to recognize that the 2016 Budget makes no additional real public investment in university operating budgets. Our universities are already the lowest funded in Canada on a per-student basis, and this situation will continue to worsen. This will have predictable effects on the quality of education at Ontario universities. Class sizes will continue to rise without new funds to support full-time faculty hiring. The number of precariously employed professors will also grow, trapping many in insecure, unsupported positions. While the government has moved to increase access for low-income students, the worsening financial environment begs the question, “access to what?”

OCUFA’s budget analysis explores the implications of under-investment in universities in length:

Considered on a per student basis (and this is per “eligible” student, as defined by government), inflation-adjusted operating allocations from the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU) has been falling since 2008-09. This year it is on the cusp of being 11 per cent lower than eight years ago. If enrolment projections from universities’ strategic mandate agreements and current patterns hold, per-student funding in 2018-19 could drop to 19 per cent lower than 2008-09. That’s a significant loss in revenue.

OCUFA continues to call for an increase to per-student funding levels at Ontario universities, to ensure that when students – especially those who have been helped by new financial aid arrangements – arrive on campus, they will have access to an exceptional learning experience. You can download the full OCUFA budget analysis here.

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