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Media Release - February 15, 2005

NEW POLL FINDS PUBLIC CONCERNED ABOUT FUNDING FOR ONTARIO COLLEGES

A new poll finds Ontario citizens are concerned about government funding levels to provincial colleges and most feel low funding has had a negative impact on the quality of education provided, Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes said today.

“The Strategic Counsel poll support the views that former Premier Bob Rae heard as he was preparing his significant report on postsecondary education, “ said President West-Moynes. “Ontario colleges are tenth out of ten Canadian provinces in per-student revenue. That results in a negative impact on our current economy, at a time when Ontario should be producing greater numbers of highly-trained graduates.”

The poll, done for Ontario’s colleges by The Strategic Counsel, was conducted from January 12th to January 21st. The poll had a sample size of 800 people and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent, 19 times out of 20. Among those with an opinion, the findings revealed:


“In her February 7, 2005 news conference, Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Mary Anne Chambers said she wants to know what the public thinks of postsecondary funding issues,” added President MaryLynn West-Moynes. “This poll demonstrates the Ontario public values college education, and that it is important for the government to invest in higher education.”

Mohawk College supports the Rae report’s recommendation that significant investments must be made starting this year and up to the 2007-08 fiscal year. The report recommends that funding to colleges must increase by at least $400 million to bring Ontario in line with the national average.

Improved funding will allow colleges to hire more faculty and staff, to make important investments in technology and resources, to better serve students and increase enrolment. Mohawk joins Ontario’s 23 other colleges in urging the Ontario government to make a major investment in the college system beginning this year.

“Mohawk College encourages Premier McGuinty and the Government of Ontario to demonstrate that it understands the direction of the Rae report, and the importance of investing in our future,” said President West-Moynes. “We ask the government to back the college system with significant increases in funding. In an effort to demonstrate additional public support we have recently written to all our Program Advisory Committee members, asking that they add their voice to our efforts.”

Backgrounder

The Strategic Counsel conducted the following polling from January 12 to January 20, 2005. The sample size is 800 and the margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The following is the breakdown of responses (proportions have been calculated to include only those who offered any opinion):

Q: The level of revenue that Ontario colleges received on a per-student basis is currently the lowest out of all the provinces in Canada. Is the fact that Ontario ranks last among the provinces on this measure of great concern, some concern, little concern or no concern?

    Great concern – 49 per cent
    Some concern – 38 per cent
    Little concern – 9 per cent
    No concern – 4 per cent

Q: The leaders of Ontario’s colleges believe that our colleges are not as well funded as they should be. Do you think that funding levels have had a negative impact or no impact on the quality of education provided? That is, have funding levels had a large negative impact, some impact, not much of an impact or no negative impact at all?

    Large negative impact – 30 per cent
    Some impact – 56 per cent
    Not much of an impact – 8 per cent
    No impact – 6 per cent

Q: As you may know, Ontario’s colleges receive money from the provincial government. In your opinion, do you think that Ontario’s colleges receive too much money from the government, not enough money, or about the right amount?

    Too much – 3 per cent
    About the right amount – 31 per cent
    Not enough – 66 per cent

Q: At the present time, do you think that too many, about the right amount or too few of Ontario’s young people go on to either a college or university following high school?

    Too many – 9 per cent
    About the right amount – 29 per cent
    Too few – 62 per cent