Volume 95, Issue 43

Friday, November 16, 2001
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Profs slam television war

Western students must consider fire safety

Run for your lives: the sky is falling!

Taliban predicts 'destruction'

Study: Canadian chicks dig university

News Briefs

Tuition not scaring the kiddies

University buildings crumbling

Smoker of the Week

Tuition not scaring the kiddies

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

A new study commissioned by the Council of Ontario Universities suggests concerns over student accessibility to higher education are unfounded.

Arnice Cadieux, executive of public affairs for COU, said between 1998 and 2001, applicants to Ontario's 17 universities from families with incomes of $20,000 or less rose from 14.8 per cent to 20 per cent.

Cadieux stressed that the study only surveyed applicants, not students who were accepted and registered at a university, adding the study does not assess the number of students who may drop out during their first-year because of fiscal constraints.

"You cannot draw any conclusions which can't be challenged," she said.

"The study demonstrates a dramatic increase in students who want to attend university," she explained, noting this rise will require additional faculty and funding at institutions across Ontario.

Rick Telfer, Ontario national executive representative for the Canadian Federation of Students, called for a more rigorous and well-rounded analysis of contributing factors towards university accessibility.

"Who applies to university is one thing," he said. "Who doesn't is another. [This study] is counter-intuitive. This document will now be referenced whenever we're lobbying government."

Tanya Cholakov, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said the study's results should not come as a surprise. "Participation rates in post-secondary programs have increased. An educated population is good for the economy and the province," she said.

Cholakov said the Ontario government has put a cap of two per cent on tuition increases for regulated programs and has contributed $1.8 million in SuperBuild funding to help universities with resources and infrastructure.

This funding will help accommodate the vast increase in student numbers expected over the next five years, she added.

"As the council pointed out, there are some problems with the results," said Western president Paul Davenport.

"Nonetheless, they are heartening. With good student aid programs, it does appear that lower-income families are still able to send their children to school," he said.

Davenport noted the results of the COU study are not reason to become complacent, noting student aid still needs to be increased. "Income should be no barrier [to an education]," he added.

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