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Media Release - March 14, 2005

Ontario must increase funding to colleges in 2005 Budget:
Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes

HAMILTON, ON-March 14, 2005: To meet the targets set in the Rae Report on postsecondary education, the McGuinty government must increase funding to its 24 colleges in its 2005 Ontario Budget, Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes said today.

"The Rae Report set a clear timeline: colleges need an additional $400 million by 2007," said President West-Moynes. "If the government seriously hopes to meet that target, it must improve its funding to colleges in the spring 2005 budget."

Ontario's 24 colleges have formally addressed the funding challenges in a new report, Colleges: An Investment in Ontario's Future, which was sent to Finance Minister Greg Sorbara and to Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Mary Anne Chambers.

The college's report builds on the recommendations in the Rae Report and has reaffirmed the challenge identified by Rae: To remain competitive internationally, the province must produce greater numbers of well-trained college graduates.

In today's high-tech economy, Rae said it is unacceptable to have only half of the 25 to 34 year olds in the province attain a postsecondary education. Ontario must invest in providing more college education, he said.

"We under-invest at our peril," Rae said during the February 7th release of his report. "If we continue on this pattern, we really are romancing mediocrity."

Currently, Ontario colleges are 10th of Canada's 10 provinces in per-student revenue. To produce more graduates, Ontario colleges need additional funding to invest in new faculty and staff, new resources and lab equipment and new industry-standard technology and training methods. Ontario must also invest in new measures to support students that are traditionally under-represented in postsecondary education, such as Aboriginals, first-generation students and people in rural and remote areas.

The need for new funding is urgent and it is real. To help promote the value of college education and the need for new funding, Ontario's colleges recently launched a bold, interactive campaign: www.fundcollegesnow.ca. Colleges are encouraging everyone to sign the online petition and to write Premier Dalton McGuinty and the government.

"The McGuinty government initiated the Rae Review because it understood the importance of postsecondary education in Ontario," said President West-Moynes. "Now it is time to act on its good intentions. It must commit to the funding recommendations in the Rae Report and make real investments in this year's spring budget."