january 8, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 54  

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Graduate funding a growing concern: report

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff

A report released last month by the Council of Ontario Universities is calling for more provincial funding to expand graduate programs, but critics say the provincial deficit will delay any progress.

“Universities have been concerned with graduate funding,” noted Western President Paul Davenport, chair of the task force. The previous provincial government made several financial commitments to undergraduate students, such as the Access Fund and the Quality Assurance Fund, he said, adding the government now needs to make similar commitments to graduate students.

The report, released by the COU’s Task Force on Future Requirements for Graduate Education in Ontario, said enrollment in graduate education is projected to increase by approximately 12,400 in the 2013-14 academic year.

According to Davenport, with the expected participation increase in graduate education, it is important for universities to receive additional government funding. “It’s absolutely vital these students be fully funded.”

He pointed out that the report raised an economic issue in which there is a growing demand for graduate students in the workforce today.

Daryl White, president of the Society of Graduate Students at Western, noted the province’s $5.6 billion deficit could dampen hopes for any real change that would aid graduate students. “Everything is up in the air because of the financial situation.”

But the report also falls short in some areas, White said, noting the report’s breakdown for graduate studies did not differentiate between field and lifetime earnings versus what is being made directly following graduation. “There are more altruistic reasons for pursuing a graduate degree, [but] at some time you’ll have to look at the economics.”

“This [report] is what the government has been saying — it will be taken under consideration,” said Dave Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, adding it is too early for the government to respond to the report.



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