Prospective students may be screwed
Like an army of monkeys chasing a speeding banana truck, next year's crop of post-secondary applicants may face a losing battle.
Students caught in the double cohort could face even greater than expected competition for acceptance in post-secondary institutions because the size of this year's graduating class may have been underestimated, according to a report cited on the Ontario provincial government's Web site.
The number of applicants from the 2002/2003 graduating class could be up to 22 per cent larger than what current funding levels have allotted for, said the early version of the report, yet to be released by Dr. Allan King, a professor at Queen's University.
Critics argue this dilemma could create funding shortages which may see the accessibility and quality of a post-secondary education suffer.
Bruce Skeaff, spokesperson for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, denied the existence of any problem, noting every willing and qualified student will have a place at a post-secondary institution next year.
"[The funding shortage concern] is based on the premise that there is a problem and there is no problem," Skeaff maintained.
Marie Bountrogianni, Liberal critic for the Ministry, said the government is funding universities at the lowest projected enrollment figures. She said the Ontario government has failed students by not anticipating the number of students vying for a position in university during the double cohort year.
Bountrogianni has called for the resignation of Dianne Cunningham as Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and said the minister has dashed the dreams of many high school students.
"In an ethical government, a minister should resign when they have failed in their role," Bountrogianni said, adding she has a pessimistic outlook for next year, but said there are always alternatives available.
"[Students] should have some backup plans or start studying hard," she said.
Western has worked very hard with available resources to ensure that its academic environment is not compromised by the lack of funding, said Western President Paul Davenport.
"Our effort will be to see that the quality of education will not be affected," Davenport said, while noting next fall will be difficult for the entire Western community.