Capilano University faculty members protest cuts to basic education and literacy programs at board of governors meeting

Capilano University faculty members protest cuts to basic education and literacy programs at board of governors meeting

Today, the Daily Herald begins an occasional series looking at how much your community college presidents put on their expense tabs, in line with the newspaper’s On Guard mission of telling readers where and how their tax dollars are being spent. Note that community colleges are funded by a combination of tax dollars and tuition, and are governed by the state.

Harper College President Kenneth Ender took office in July 2009, just as the economy was hitting rock bottom. In 2010, he was reimbursed for alcohol at a party for his visiting brother at his Inverness home; for a golf outing/social with staff at Lake Barrington Shores Golf Club; and five to two-person dinners at Entourage Restaurant in Schaumburg for interviews of provost and executive vice president candidates.
A true Nova Scotia vision for post-secondary education

[International Differential Fees are covered under the 3% cap on tuition increases. Only in the case of “unique circumstances” can universities appeal to the NS Minister of Labour & Adv Education to get an exemption to the cap. This unspecified appeals process is not exclusive to Intl. Differential Fee increases, but those fees are the only known case where Dalhousie University is trying to bypass the provincial cap. Authorities among Dalhousie student representatives report that the “unique circumstances” clause is a dedicated loophole to effectively deregulate International Differential Fee increases. Dalhousie is selling the increase to intl students with “improved services”, it is unclear how this constitutes any kind of “unique circumstance”. The same source suggested a different background to the loophole clause: While the NS government does not fund intl students’ university education in general, they provide “some” amount of funding for intl students up to a 10% fraction of the full student population, ostensibly to attract highly qualified students in accordance with the provincial NS immigration strategy. Since the Intl student population at Dalhousie is currently at 11% and expected to grow in the near future, the loophole clause allows Dalhousie to recover additional revenue from the growing number of Intl students. The university and provincial government successfully obfuscated the clause and process: One month after the Dalhousie Board of Governors approved the additional Differential Fee increase and ordered the uni administration to appeal to the Minister, it is still unkown when and how the appeal will be brought forward, and what exactly is behind the “unique circumstance” clause. -Editor’s note]


What the new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ report on post-secondary education offers is precisely what the present government lacks — namely, a vision for post-secondary education (PSE) in this province that goes beyond mindless cost-cutting.

What it makes clear is not simply the inequity involved in transferring still more of the burden of the cost of education onto the young, but just how shortsighted is the policy of reducing investment in post-secondary education, when post-secondary education is in fact part of the solution to our economic problems, not part of the cause.

We know the economic benefits of attracting out-of-province students, who come here not just to visit but to live. It is estimated that for every dollar the government invests in international students, the province receives an economic return of more than three dollars — yet the government’s policy on tuition fees allows for increases for international students well in excess of the three per cent cap proposed.

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While a university’s reputation remains an important factor, students are increasingly pragmatic and are contemplating what they will get out of their education. “Learning by experience is becoming more and more an integral part of the university culture,” says Lisa Chambers, director of U of T’s Centre for Community Partnerships. Students in a broad range of disciplines are signing up for courses that offer a service learning component.

Once considered the domain of community colleges, service learning has exploded at U of T over the past five years. The number of courses offering students an out-of-classroom component has grown dramatically. Nearly 2,000 students participated over the past academic year.

Outcomes are important to this generation of students, many of whom have their sights set on a government job upon graduation because it’s seen as a “safe career route,” says Ken Steele of Academica, a London-based research marketing firm. As tuition has increased, students and their parents are more conscious that university education is an investment and want to ensure it offers a good return.

“Students are fixated on those programs that have the most certain returns on investment,” Steele says. “Programs like nursing that can promise 95% employment are much more appealing to students and they will travel further to get into a nursing program because they’re very competitive programs on most college and university campuses.”

On Wednesday, the University of New Brunswick’s board of governors imposed an extra $150 in students fees on all 6,000 students at UNB. On top of that, the board approved a $200 hike in tuition fees, the maximum permitted under rules set by the provincial government.

The $150 fee, which has been dubbed the Richard J. Currie Center fee, doesn’t fall under the provincial rules because it’s considered an ancillary fee. “That’s basically a loophole that the board of governors and the administration have gone through,” said Joey O’Kane, vice-president external of the UNB student union.

UNB student union president Jordan Thompson has suggested any fees affecting students be decided by a vote by students via a referendum, but the board of governors won’t allow it. “The decision to approve an increase to fees while students are away from campus does not bode well for clear and transparent relations between the administration and students,” Thompson said.

St. Thomas University’s board of governors also approved its budget Wednesday. STU is also introducing a $200 tuition fee hike for domestic and international students.

STU’s $27.15-million budget for 2011-12 incorporates an increase in the operating grants from the provincial government. Four full-time faculty positions will be added in the new fiscal year, decreasing the number of courses taught by part-time faculty.

"This is a challenging time for budget development for all universities and we recognize the deficit-cutting priorities of the government," said Andrea Seymour, chairwoman of the board of governors.

Tuition fees at STU will be $4,4770 for domestic students and $12,680 for international students. The base fee for residence will increase by $280 with the cost of a double room with a base meal plan for the coming year expected to be $7,000. STU has the lowest combination of tuition and fees in the Maritimes, the university said.

I wonder how much of this is confirmation bias or post-purchase rationalization. -simsian

There simply isn’t enough emphasis in Canadian schools on small business ownership and entrepreneurship as career options, the majority of Canadian entrepreneurs surveyed said in a new study.

The opinion was expressed by 56 per cent of almost 9,000 entrepreneurs in a study released this week by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Almost half of post-secondary institutions surveyed did not have an underlying strategy to deliver entrepreneurship education, according to a 2010 study by Industry Canada.

Job-seeking university graduates give it the old college try

As the bachelor’s degree loses its lustre, the college system has been prepping for its close-up. One of its biggest boosters: university graduates who are treating colleges and polytechnics as de facto finishing schools.

“Our biggest area of growth is post-university students,” said James Knight, the president of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

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Recent developments in Higher Education, Part 1: Nova Scotia

Staff cut will hurt Dalhousie students with learning disabilities

Matthew Fleischmann is going into his fourth year in psychology at Dalhousie University. He’s got good marks and wants to make a career of his studies. Matthew Fleischmann has a learning disability.
And Dalhousie recently cut funding to the one counselling services psychologist whose job was to help students like Fleischmann learn to learn. Neera Datta was Dal’s learning disabilities specialist; she assessed students and taught them ways to cope and succeed — students with ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome and a bushel of other learning hurdles. Datta treated 110 students from Dalhousie, University of King’s College and NSCAD University last year.
A government grant covered $40,000 of Datta’s pay. That cash will shift to the office of student accessibility and accommodation (the other roughly $50,000 will be realized as a budget cut). Unlike the office, Datta “provided a level of support beyond the accommodations,” says Bonnie Neuman, vice-president of student services. “It’s a real loss to not have her right on campus anymore.”

Nova Scotia urged to shelve O’Neill report on Higher Education—n-s-urged-to-shelve-education-report

CCPA report: NS residents paying more than fair share for Higher Education

For students looking at Halifax, It just got more expensive to study in Canada

The Economic Impact of International Students Enrolled in NS Universities

It is in Nova Scotia’s long-term and demographic interest to invest in attracting more international students. Since international students provide significant economic benefit to Nova Scotia, spending over three dollars for every one spent by Government, current limits on funding of universities for international students through the university funding formula seem to be incongruous. […] Similarly, the current policy with respect to differential fees may be at cross purposes with Nova Scotia’s Immigration Strategy

-Dalhousie School of Public Administration (report prepared for The Minister’s Post-secondary Education Research Advisory Panel, Department of Education, Province of Nova Scotia)

The dash for donors - School presidents say corporate donors essential to deal with government cutbacks, rising costs and crumbling campuses

These days, university presidents have to be great sales people and schmoozers, too, vying for the big donations from the big money donors — more ready than ever to step off their wallets. “We’re always fundraising,” says Traves. “Fundraising and friend-raising” St. Francis Xavier University president Sean Riley calls it.
Dalhousie has raised roughly $350 million during Traves’ 16 years as president, including $170 million over the past 2 1/2 years toward its Bold Ambitions capital campaign goal of $250 million.
In an age of government cutbacks, rising costs, deteriorating buildings — and growing wealth among the wealthy — Traves and others say it’s natural to go after the big money. And the big names.
Nova Scotia university buildings already read like a millionaires, or billionaires, row: Sobey Business School (Saint Mary’s University), Charles V. Keating Millennium Centre (St. Francis Xavier), Schulich Law School (Dal), K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre (Acadia University) to name a few.

Nova Scotia’s billion dollar university

Admin costs an issue at Dalhousie (Chronicle Herald letter)

MEMORANDUM RE: University Administrative Costs
FROM: Tom Traves, Dalhousie President
TO: The Dalhousie University Community

Recent developments in Higher Education, Part 2: Canada, US & beyond

Campus Confidental - 100 startling things you don’t know about Canadian universities. 1. Graduation Rates Report Card

Tuition fees worrying Canadian parents

According to a new national survey, two-thirds of Canada believe that post-secondary education has become too expensive. These days it costs about $60,000 to send a child to university for four years (and much more if you’re dreaming of med school). And the poll, conducted by the Bank of Montreal, found that only 21 per cent of families with children under the age of 18 are confident they can afford it.

US & beyond

"Kick Out Sodexo" Coalition at University of Washington - 25 UW studentsarrested at sit-in over vendor

Class of 2011: More Debt Than Ever

It’s official: This year’s class graduates with a record amount of debt. The Wall Street Journal reports that total student loan debt taken on by parents and students adds up to an average of $22,900, 8 percent higher than last year. That’s scary stuff, especially considering how hard it is for new grads to find jobs right now.

For-profit colleges seeking students at homeless shelters

For-profit colleges are making billions of dollars in profits by targeting vulnerable populations with misleading promises of low-cost tuition and jobs after graduation, says Bloomberg News investigative reporter Daniel Golden.

Education Is the Last Thing on Their Minds

The for-profit education industry complained of excessive regulation last fall when the Obama administration issued new rules intended to curb abuses at profit-making colleges and trade schools. But lawsuits brought by whistle-blowers with firsthand knowledge of the industry make a strong case for why tough rules are needed.

"Evidence of the true cost of educational funding cuts"

We Need Higher Ed Uncut

The challenges facing undocumented students in US: High School Soccer star deported to Mexico after title match

If the Southeast Whitfield Raiders win their game tonight against top-ranked St. Pius X of Atlanta, Bernabe Rangel will play for the Georgia Class AAA soccer championship Saturday.
Two days later, the standout midfielder for the Dalton, Ga., high school will be deported to Mexico.
“I’d love to stay here. Who wouldn’t?” said Rangel, a four-year starter for the Raiders. “Some of the teachers ask me if I’m scared, and I’m not. They worry, but I tell them that God’s always there.”
Rangel will be deported three days before his 19th birthday.

When a Student’s First-Choice College Is Out of Financial Reach

This spring Natasha van Doren, the mother of a prospective Southern New Hampshire University student, wrote an e-mail to Paul LeBlanc, its president. Her daughter, Mariah Mann, had fallen in love with the
campus, she wrote, but there was a problem: Money was tight, and if Ms. van Doren sent in the needed $500 deposit, she would have only enough left over to pay half of her monthly rent. Ms. van Doren and Mr. LeBlanc traded several e-mails.

8 Alternatives to College

Massachusetts Attorney General’s office scrutinizing for-profit colleges

Our Growing Higher Ed Crisis: Making Myths In the Basement of the Ivory Tower

Teenagers who see their college dreams destroyed will jack up their risky behaviour — drinking, smoking, drugs and sex — groundbreaking new research reveals.

“Kids’ expectations and how those expectations affect risky health behaviours are something that we, as a society, might be worried about,” Washington State University economics professor Ben Cowan told the Star on Thursday.

“I generally believe when people have a brighter view of the future they have a better behaviour today.”

Cowan’s research is among the first to empirically study how the expectations of 17-year-olds “near the margins of the college decision” influence their behaviour.

The LSE academic board’s decision to reject £9,000 tuition fees has dented the higher education policy landscape in the UK. Overruling it would be undemocratic.

The issue of fee-setting has been disowned and depoliticised by institutions all over the country. Vice-chancellors and administrations have branded the decision as a done deal, and as a result, from Westminster to Hull, £9,000 fees have become the norm. It is refreshing to see that at the London School of Economics, this is not the case.

LSE’s academic board have rejected £9,000 fees by a vote of 68-67. Instead, the board settled for £8,000 (with 40% of receipts above £6,000 set aside for bursaries, widening participation and/or fee waivers).

The decision came as a shock, particularly as the administration has been in overdrive, lobbying professors in the weeks leading up to the vote. Meanwhile, the students’ union and University and College Union have been campaigning in the opposite direction.

We recognise that it is depressing that £8,000 fees could be considered a win, but any dent in the current higher education policy landscape is welcome.

This year is shaping up to be a tough one for students looking for a summer job.Business groups are warning that there will be fewer jobs for students in New Brunswick this summer because of the rapid increase in the minimum wage.

"I am hearing from my members that there are fewer student positions being offered because of the increased wage burden to employers," said Susan Holt, CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.

"It will absolutely impact the labour market because with fewer students working, that’s less opportunity for them to gain experience and prepare themselves for future work."

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Nova Scotia chapter) is urging the provincial government to shelve the recommendations of a report issued last fall into post-secondary education.

The O’Neill report made a number of recommendations, including allowing university tuition fees to rise to offset any possible future decreases in government funding.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says cutting funding for post-secondary institutions will only download more costs on students and their families. It says implementing the O’Neill recommendations would make things worse for students, not better.

Economist Tim O’Neill argued in his 188-page report last September that raising or eliminating the cap on student loans would increase accessibility to higher education. He also encouraged universities to explore private ownership and reduce costs by integrating some administration offices.

The population of openly gay college applicants in the US is becoming more visible, and institutions are stepping up efforts to recruit them. One measure of schools’ outreach is the growth of dedicated fairs. Campus Pride, a national advocacy group, held its first college fair in 2007; this…