By Matt Kwong
Premier Bob Rae’s review on post-secondary education could bring funding to hundreds of previously unfunded Ryerson students, said Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse.
“It’s critical for Ryerson that premier Rae has recognized that universities like Ryerson…have a huge population of students that are unfunded by government,” he said. “This needs to be addressed.”
Lajeunesse said the proposal to increase funding by $1.3 billion was a significant step to achieving that goal. “Ryerson should benfit from this report,” said Michael Doucet, president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. “That $1.3 billion would go to hire new faculty, and translate into smaller classes,” said Doucet, who also teaches geography at Ryerson.
“Bob Rae made it very clear that all students should receive government funding, and we have about 3,000 unfunded students here. That’s a lot of money.”
In terms of attracting enrolment at Ryerson, International Student Services Co-ordinator Diana Ning said Rae’s recommendation to allow international students to obtain off-campus work permits would raise international enrolment.
“Ryerson students (would) get opportunities to gain more Canadian experience,” she said. “It would be an advantage for them and attract international students (because under the current system), if you were a student from Pakistan wanting to work at the Eaton Centre, that would be illegal…and it’s complicated to get a work visa.”
Since international student fees are about 2.5 times regular tuition, allowing Ryerson students to earn more income would be very beneficial, she said. But RyeSAC’s Vice-president Education, Rebecca Rose, is less optimisic.
“I think off-campus working is a fabulous option,” she said, “but no job is going to cover that amount of tuition.”
Rose predicts that in the long-run, enrolment at Ryerson will drop if the government goes ahead with Rae’s recommendation to increase tuition at the end of the two-year freeze.
“I do see people continuting to enrol, but I see low-income families being discouraged,” she said.