Top Ten News

Feb 27, 2024 • ON

The Government of Ontario has announced new funds and policy plans in an effort to help stabilize the postsecondary sector. The province is investing nearly $1.3B, which will be distributed through a variety of funds, including a new $903M Postsecondary Education Sustainability Fund. ON will extend the tuition fee freeze for at least three more years and will introduce legislation related to mental health, safe and inclusive campuses, and fee transparency. Private colleges will face strengthened oversights. Several career-related changes have also been implemented: The province also plans to allow colleges to offer applied master’s degrees to prepare students for jobs and will launch a career portal that will help students make informed decisions about postsecondary education.

ON, Global News, PTBO Today

Top Ten News

Feb 27, 2024 • National

Globe and Mail reporter Marie Woolf connected with the leaders of several private career colleges about their struggles to retain international students and how this could be worsened by the federal policy shifts. Flair College of Management and Technology executive director Sandip Dhakecha said that most of the college’s accepted international students request a refund of their fees immediately upon arrival in Canada, with the intent of transferring to a public college and attaining a postgraduate work permit. Contacts at A1-Global College and the Academy of Learning Career College echoed Dhakecha’s comments. “To be honest with you, they are just using us to get here,” said Dhakecha, who added that without access to the work permit option “we have no tool to retain them.” Woolf contrasts the “desolate” campuses of these colleges with the “bustling” campus of Stanford International College of Business and Technology, which has a public-private partnership with Canadore College.

Globe and Mail

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Feb 27, 2024 • QC

Thanks to a $10M investment from the Government of Québec, Cégep de Valleyfield will expand its mechanical engineering and civil engineering programs and modernize its learning facilities. By expanding and updating its facilities, the Cégep will be able to welcome a total of 30 more students to its mechanical engineering program and 70 more to its civil engineering program over the next few years. Valleyfield directeur général Marc Rémillard added that this provincial investment will also improve the relaxation and study spaces used by the entire college community. At the announcement for this funding, QC also inaugurated Valleyfield’s new student residence and educational clinic for students in the nursing program.

QC

Top Ten News

Feb 27, 2024 • ON

Nearly 3,000 York University contract instructors, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants have gone on strike after a deal was not reached with the university last weekend. CUPE 3903–which represents the workers–has identified the provincial wage restraint legislation and the affordability crisis as key issues behind the strike. “Who can afford to work at York anymore?” asks CUPE 3903 Communications Officer Erin McIntosh in a statement for the Toronto Star. YorkU said that meeting student learning needs during the strike remains a top priority. “Contingency plans for all other aspects of university operations are in place and will be activated as required and we will continue to work toward a swift, equitable, and sustainable agreement with CUPE 3903,” read a statement from the university.

CHCH, CP24 (CP), Toronto Star

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Feb 27, 2024 • NB

New Brunswick postsecondary institution leaders are concerned that federal limits on acceptance and attestation letters could hurt their international student numbers due to the use of a national average conversion rate. CBC reports that the cap assumes a 60% conversion rate, but Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick President Pierre Zundel argues that schools in the province have lower rates than the national average. Zundell adds that the limit on the number of acceptance letters would likely not allow NB to reach its allotment of international students. St Thomas University VP of Enrolment Ryan Sullivan commented that the limit on acceptance letters would lead to a reduction in the number of international students, since attestation letters cannot be reused if students choose to decline an offer of admission.

CBC

Top Ten News

Feb 27, 2024 • ON

The University of Waterloo has requested the removal of smart vending machines after students raised concerns about the machines’ use of facial recognition. The facial recognition feature was discovered after one of the machines malfunctioned and a student posted a photo online of an error on the vending machine’s screen. Invenda Group, the company that manufactures the machines, said that the machines use demographic detection software that “does not engage in storage, communication, or transmission of any imagery or personally identifiable information.” CTV News reports that students have covered the hole that they believe houses the camera and are now asking if similar technology is used elsewhere on campus. UWaterloo has called on the manufacturer to disable the software until the machines can be removed.

CTV News, Business Insider, The Guardian

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Feb 27, 2024 • AB, BC, MB

Assiniboine Community College, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Vancouver Community College have launched new programs. ACC’s Russ Edwards School of Agriculture & Environment is launching the Digital Agriculture Technology advanced diploma program. The program will teach students to integrate emerging digital technologies and conventional agricultural practices. SAIT is offering an Integrated Artificial Intelligence (AI) certificate program, which will teach students how to enhance their performance by ethically and responsibly leveraging generative AI tools. VCC is piloting an Addressing Anti-Indigenous Racism in Adult Learning Environments micro-credential, which is designed to help facilitators and educators respond to Indigenous-specific racism.

ACC, SAIT, VCC

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Feb 27, 2024 • International

In a recent article for Times Higher Education, Dr Robert Phillips (University of Manchester) underlines the importance of extracurricular activities to postsecondary student life and to universities. Phillips discusses how extracurricular activities–from debate clubs to living labs–help students nurture their interpersonal skills, apply knowledge outside of the classroom, boost their sense of belonging within the postsecondary community, and combat feelings of loneliness. The author adds that recent studies have also shown that students who were involved in extracurricular activities were more likely to donate to the universities after they had graduated. “In short,” Phillips concludes, “any investment in extracurricular activities by universities is likely to be repaid many times over.”

Times Higher Education

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Feb 27, 2024 • ON

Collège Boréal has received $560K from the Government of Canada to help cover the costs of the renovations to its Nipissing Campus in Sturgeon Falls. These renovations–valued at $1.1M in total–were conducted to enhance the college’s training services, help recruit local high school students, and support the success of Francophone students. The renovations include the creation of a reception area, addition of staff offices, completion of a mural, and relocation of Collège Boréal’s job services to on campus. “Beyond a range of programs up to the baccalaureate, numerous services including continuing education, adult development, business training and employment services are now under one roof, on our completely renovated Nipissing campus,” said Collège Boréal President Daniel Giroux.

CTV News (Video), Newswire, North Bay Nugget

Top Ten News

Feb 27, 2024 • BC

University of British Columbia and Thompson Rivers University are both reportedly raising their tuition fees for the 2024-25 school year. The Vancouver Sun reports that UBC will increase domestic student tuition by 2%, while international students will see a tuition increase of between 2-5%. The hikes are expected to generate an additional $27M over the next academic year. Castanet reports that TRU will raise domestic tuition by 2% and international student tuition by 5%. TRU VP of Administration and Finance Matt Milovick noted that the increase is comparable to the increases being implemented at Simon Fraser University, UBC, University of Northern British Columbia, and the University of Victoria.

Vancouver Sun, Daily Hive (UBC), Castanet (TRU)
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