Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
September 16, 2002
U of G responds to report by Millennium Foundation
The Millennium Scholarship Foundation today released a report, The Price of Knowledge: Access and Student Finance in Canada, that addresses, among other things, increasing tuition costs and enrolment at Canada’s post-secondary institutions.
Universities were not supplied with advance copies of the report, so it is difficult to comment in detail, says Maureen Mancuso, associate vice-president (academic), who chairs the University’s Enrolment Management Committee and oversees the Office of Registrarial Services. However, some details and figures in the report were released, allowing Mancuso to provide information specific to U of G in a few key areas.
“While I have not seen the report in its entirety, it does appear to dispel some myths about access to higher education,” she says. The report says that while tuition has steadily increased for the past decade, enrolment numbers have not been affected. It states that universities with lower tuition are not making up the difference by increasing ancillary and non-compulsary fees, and that a proportion of the ancillary fees are student-initiated. The report also says that students need and are receiving more financial assistance than ever before.
In total, the amount of money the University spends on student assistance has increased to some $15.8 million. More than 50 per cent of entering students received financial support in 2002/2003 and a significant number of in-course students received continuing awards. “We plan to continue to work to increase the number of awards and scholarships available to our students through our ongoing budget process, locally-administered student aid initiatives, and fund raising activities,” Mancuso says. “There are also more than 3,500 student jobs on campus, which provide some $25 million in employment-related payments to students annually.”
In addition, while the report says that nationwide, students are paying thousands of dollars in fees for professional programs, the situation at U of G is very different, Mancuso says. "For a number of years, we have been mindful of making sure that the gap between professional and non-professional programs is not substantial, even though we have the discretion to charge higher fees in these areas. It is likely that this is one of the main reasons why tuition fees at U of G have increased at a slower rate than at other Ontario universities.”
The report also says that rising tuition is not affecting enrolment, a fact that holds true at U of G, according to Mancuso. The number of first-choice applications to Guelph have increased more than 17 per cent since the mid-1990s. “We have increased our undergraduate enrolment by some 22 per cent and graduate enrolment by about 9 per cent in part to respond to this increase in demand,” she says.