By Lana Hall
Ryerson has the fourth lowest funding per full-time student in Ontario, said Ryerson’s vice provost university planning.
Paul Stenton said at March’s Board of Governors meeting that, despite its size, Ryerson is short-changed on provincial funding.
Ryerson gets about 60 per cent of its funding from the province, a majority of which comes as grants. President Sheldon Levy says the discrepancy in funds arises because of the courses the school offers.
“Ryerson will receive the same amount of money as another university for its programs, but we have a difference mix of programs,” Levy said.
Generally, the government awards schools about $4,000 per undergraduate student, Levy said. He said students getting a doctorate degree, however, earn the school close to $27,000 each. This leaves schools with strong undergrad populations like Ryerson on the lower end of the funding fray.
“So [the University of Toronto] has a lot of PhD programs, and therefore has a lot more money per student,” Levy said.
Levy said another reason for the low funding is that Ryerson is the only large university that doesn’t charge high fees for specialized programs. For example, Ryerson’s masters of business program costs about $12,000, while other Canadian universities charge upwards of $40,000.
“It’s a combination. We don’t have the programs that are allowed to have large fees, and when we did it was our choice to hold them at a moderate level,” he said. Since the school chose its MBA price, the province has placed a fee cap of five per cent on raising tuition. Fees make up about 40 per cent of the school’s funding.
Levy says Ryerson’s endowments, which bring in about $3 million a year, are dwarfed by schools like U of T, which have been investing for about 100 years.
“Ryerson is relatively young as a research university, especially at the graduate level,” said politics professor Peter Ryan.
“[It] has not developed a broad research profile or a large endowment for student awards,” he said.
Levy said the school has only been able to build on its endowment fund in recent years. It has jumped $10 million since 2000 to about $61 million.