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Build 2000


Trent University Praises Provincial Government for New Investments in Universities


Postsecondary sector to receive most significant investment in 20 years

May 12, 2005 - Peterborough

Trent University President and Vice-Chancellor Bonnie Patterson commended the provincial government for yesterday's budget that will see $6.2 billion invested in Ontario's postsecondary education sector by 2010.

"Premier McGuinty, Minister Sorbara and Minister Chambers are to be applauded for their commitment to follow through on the Rae Report and for delivering significant new investments that ensure students get access to quality and excellence in Ontario's universities," said President Patterson. "With this budget, the government will enrich the quality experience for students and is taking a major step to enhance Ontario universities' competitiveness in Canada."

President Patterson stressed that the university sector owes a large debt of gratitude to the Honourable Mr. Bob Rae for his comprehensive 2005 report that guided the development of the budget.

The president added that local MPP Jeff Leal, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, played an important role in securing new investments for the postsecondary sector. "We are fortunate in Peterborough to have Jeff Leal working so hard on behalf of the postsecondary sector," said President Patterson. "As an alumnus, he knows first hand what chronic underfunding has meant to students at Trent. Jeff has been a consistently strong advocate for Ontario's universities and I want to thank him publicly for his unwavering support of Trent University."

Some of the budget highlights include:

  • $358 million in new investment in student financial assistance by 2009-10, more than double the base funding provided in 2004-05.
  • Improved student financial assistance for 135,000 low-and-middle income students in 2005-06.
  • Continued tuition freeze for 2005-06, work to begin on a new tuition framework to be in place for September 2006.
  • New low-income tuition grants of up to $6,000 for 16,000 first-year students.
  • In conjunction with the federal government, increases in the weekly loan amounts from $110 to $140 for single students.
  • An increase of $50M to universities and colleges to create more endowments for financial assistance.
  • Expanded graduate education by 12,000 students in 2007-08 and 14,000 by 2009-10 through new investments of $220 million annually by 2009-10.
  • Capital support to ensure that graduate departments can accommodate the increased number of students.
  • Creation of a Research Council of Ontario to advise on and co-ordinate research priorities.
  • $25 million for Ontario Research Chairs.
  • An increase of $447 million in operating grants for the postsecondary education sector in 2005-06.
  • A five-year, $30 billion public infrastructure plan to invest in roads, bridges, public transit, water and sewage treatment, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities and other capital projects.
  • Multi-year agreements between the government and institutions that would set out enrolment and quality improvement targets.
  • Creation of a new, arm's length Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario to support quality improvement.
  • Improved pathways for students and increased collaboration between Ontario colleges and universities.

In the government's supporting budget documentation, "Achieving Our Potential: Progress Towards a New Generation of Economic Growth," the province affirmed its commitment to the Peterborough region DNA Cluster. The DNA cluster is recognized in the budget as one of 11 "regional innovation networks" in the province that are multi-stakeholder, regional development organizations established with provincial funding to support partnerships among business, institutions and local governments to promote innovation.

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For more information contact:

Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1224

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