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Ontario looking at largest university class ever
Class lists are going to be longer this year at provincial universities, with more than 90,000 students entering post-secondary education.
Rosalyn Solomon, 24 hours
This is the largest first-year class for Ontario universities, beating out the previous record of about 88,000 students during the double cohort in 2003, when students from Grade 12 and 13 graduated at the same time, as the province dropped Grade 13 or OAC.
Before the double cohort, there were about 60,000 first year students entering university.
There are several reasons for the increase, says Bonnie Patterson, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) including an increase in the number of graduating students who participate and qualify for university as well as the effects of the economic times.
“The relationship between higher education and jobs has really come through for individuals and their families, with 70% of new jobs requiring higher education,” Patterson said.
“As you look at what happened coming out of the recession and even during the recession, those with university education have certainly fared better than those who didn’t have one in terms of keeping jobs or being able to relocate and find new ones.”
The trend parallels an increasing demand for university graduates in the workforce and between 2004 and 2010, employment growth for university graduates outpaced all other levels of education. “Tied into that is what is the earning premiums and we know it’s a $1.5 million in lifetime earnings over a high-school graduate if you have a degree and we know it’s $1 million over a college graduate,” Patterson said.
It’s not just graduating high-school students, the new pool of first-years include, “non-secondary” students who are looking to get into a different career or those who previously didn’t finish university and are returning to complete their degree.