Survey finds students confused about current OSAP system

A survey of post-secondary students regarding the perception and knowledge of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) found that about a third of students are confused about how OSAP works. The survey found many students didn’t know about the repayment plan for OSAP or thought it didn’t apply to them. Students were also confused about how long the repayment grace period is for OSAP after graduation, which is six months. Cassandra Cao, a senior researcher at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) think tank, conducted the story as part of the organization’s “ongoing research on student financial barriers” in post-secondary education. “This study was specifically designed to support work we are doing on evaluating the imminent reforms to […]

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Study reveals issues with post-secondary job placements

A recent study found work integrated learning experiences (WIL) such as co-ops, internships, and apprenticeships offered to students through universities are not as secure as previously thought. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a statement in March that the government is prepared to fund “more placements,” ensuring that “every student completes at least one experiential learning opportunity before graduating from high school, and another before finishing college or university.” But a study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) found that students are often unclear about their rights while participating in a WIL placement, and are generally getting paid below minimum wage, or not getting paid at all. “If there’s going to be a push to move more […]

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New project to test students for “basic skills”

Several Canadian universities and colleges are taking part in a pilot project this fall to test whether students learn “basic skills” such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking at post-secondary schools. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)—an Ontario government research agency—is responsible for the project. Greg Moran, HEQCO director of special projects, said incoming and graduate students will take a 90-minute online test to see how experienced students are in three areas: literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving in a technology-rich environment. The project will test up to 900 students at each institution as part of the project. Students who take part in the test will receive a code they can use to access an online portal and complete the […]

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Teaching over research could benefit universities

A recent study suggests universities may be better off if professors focused on course responsibilities rather than their research commitments. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) released the report March 11 examining how much work professors perform regarding research and teaching responsibilities, in addition to how many courses university faculty were teaching in a year. “Two years ago, [HEQCO] studied how to improve the productivity of the Ontario college and university system,” HEQCO president Harvey Weingarten said. “The typical Ontario faculty member teaches three courses a year—two in the first semester and one in the second term. Those who are not active in research do not teach more.” He said if research-focused professors put more attention on teaching, the […]

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Report suggests Canadian literacy scores minimal

Forty-two per cent of Canadian adults lack the literacy skills required to thrive in the global economy, a new report finds. The Oct. 31 report, “Making the Grade? Troubling Trends in Postsecondary Student Literacy,” published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario focuses on two areas of literacy: reading and writing. The report found less than one quarter of Canadians aged 18 to 65 who took the International Adult Literacy Survey scored above Level 3, which is considered the minimum level of proficiency. It argued that literacy expectations for high school students who go on to post-secondary education are inconsistent, suggesting most Ontario students are only meeting the minimum requirement of literacy proficiency. The report recommended that post-secondary institutions […]

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