Ontarians overwhelmingly support proposals to expand the range of career-focused degree programs at colleges with nearly 70 per cent supporting the creation of new three-year degree programs, according to a new poll commissioned by Colleges Ontario.
“People clearly want to see students provided with more opportunities to fulfil their career ambitions,” says Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “Providing more degree programs will help more graduates advance in their careers and earn higher salaries.”
Like other Ontario colleges, Fanshawe currently offers a mix of four-year degree programs, two-year and three-year diploma programs, in-class apprenticeship training and post-graduate certificate programs for university and college graduates. This fall, Fanshawe also began offering microcredentials as a way for mature learners to enhance their skills and build on their education.
As the advocacy voice for the province’s 24 colleges, Colleges Ontario is urging the provincial government to approve policy changes that would allow colleges to broaden their career-specific degree programs.
The proposed changes would include the creation of new three-year degree programs, an increase in the number of four-year degree programs and the creation of Master’s degree programs in specialized technical areas such as robotics, cybersecurity and animation. The changes would create more career options for graduates, including new opportunities to advance into management positions.
“At Fanshawe, we unlock the potential of our students, partners and the communities we serve through a promise to educate, engage, empower and excite in everything that we do,” says Gary Lima, Fanshawe’s senior vice president academic. “Expanding the degree programs offered at colleges will help us deliver on that promise by providing students with the specialized expertise sought by employers.”
The online survey of more than 1,000 Ontario adults was conducted last month by Innovative Research. Overall, the research found strong support for broadening the colleges’ range of degree programs.
Specific results included:
- A total of 69 per cent of respondents supported or strongly supported the proposal to allow colleges to offer three-year degrees. Twenty-six per cent were neutral or unsure and six per cent were opposed.
- Nearly 80 per cent of respondents believe expanding degree programs at colleges is a good way to create more opportunities for students, with 79 per cent supporting or strongly supporting the idea, 18 per cent neutral or unsure and only three per cent opposed.
- More than half of respondents supported the creation of master’s degree programs at colleges, with 52 per cent supporting the idea, 11 per cent opposed and 36 per cent neutral or unsure.
The online survey of 1,056 Ontarians 18 or older was conducted June 21, 2021, by Innovative Research Group Inc. for Ontario’s colleges. Because it was an online survey, there is no calculation of the margin of error.
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