The university funding formula review begins to take shape

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On June 8, 2016, OCUFA representatives met with Glenn Craney, Expert Lead of the Postsecondary Funding Renewal Team, and his staff to discuss the ongoing work to reform the university funding model in Ontario. The meeting was an opportunity to get an update on the progress of the project, learn more about key objectives and principles, and to further explain the faculty perspective on how to create an effective funding model.

From the government side, the objectives of the reform process are:

  1. To create a funding model with a “focus on outcomes.” What is meant by this is currently undefined, and OCUFA will be arguing that better data – and not punishment-based funding- will help inform the discussion around outcomes in the postsecondary sector.
  2. To strengthen differentiation in the sector and support the individual mandates of universities.
  3. To promote financially stable universities.

Glenn Craney’s team is currently working with sector stakeholders on the design of a model that will meet these objectives. In initial discussions, the team has focused on developing options that promote funding stability for individual institutions through a time of enrolment instability. The team has also signaled that transition to a new funding model may be multi-year and linked to the Strategic Mandate Agreements.  Further discussion will highlight details of how funding will be linked to outcomes. If this includes some level of punishment-based funding, OCUFA will continue to argue against this type of model when and where it is proposed.

The government’s preliminary thinking is that the new model will include a consideration of enrolment, with some sort of a renewed “corridor” system (where funding is guaranteed within a certain corridor of enrolment fluctuation); a possible envelope to support differentiation and student outcomes; and a review of existing special purpose grants.

OCUFA is currently reviewing these initial objectives, principles, and ideas, and will be engaging with the review throughout the summer. Our overriding objective is to ensure that the new funding model continues to support accessible, comprehensive, and high-quality university education in Ontario, and that the autonomy of the universities is respected going forward.

Check in with OCUFA Report and on the OCUFA website for the latest news and analysis on the university funding model review process.

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