Board of Governors, June 24, 1999 - APPENDIX VI
ITEMS REFERRED BY SENATE
Increasing tuition fees across all of Western's undergraduate and graduate programs have given
rise to concerns about student access, recruitment, financial aid, retention, and debt load upon
graduation. The University strives to ensure that these increased tuition costs do not prevent
academically qualified students from gaining entrance to our programs or completing their studies
because of limited financial wherewithal. The SCUP Working Group on Student Financial Data
has been established to examine available information relevant to these issues and to report
annually, through SCUP to Senate and the Board of Governors. The information provided
through SCUP will contribute to our objective that in all financial matters affecting students at
Western, the University's policies are fair and reasonable.
The issues that prompt the creation of this working group apply equally to graduate and
undergraduate students even though the relevant circumstances of the two groups of students
differ substantially. Graduate student financial support is a key responsibility of the Faculty of
Graduate Studies (FGS) who maintain a comprehensive database on the amount and sources of
student support in all of Western's programs. To avoid conflicting with the data-gathering
processes already in place in FGS, while at the same time ensuring that parallel information is
available on graduate and undergraduate students, the Dean of Graduate Studies (or designate)
will serve on the Working Group and FGS staff will work closely with the Working Group and
1. With the support of the Office of Institutional Planning and Budgeting (IPB), to examine
information relevant to issues of access, recruitment, retention, and debt in all of Western's
undergraduate and graduate programs.
2. To review the following information:
- average OSAP debt, by year of programs, and at graduation after consolidation and forgiveness
(Financial Aid Office);
- average bank debt at CIBC and Scotiabank by year of program (data from Banks);
- average default rates on OSAP loans (MET);
- amount and sources of income for students;
- average aid from UWO for OSAP-eligible students;
- average income 5 years after graduation (Western alumni survey);
- other relevant information that the Working Group might identify, e.g., results of self-report
surveys of students, socio-economic background (family income), interviews with Financial
Aid, student groups.
Wherever possible data should span the recent period of unusual increases in tuition fees.
3. To advise the Provost, through SCUP, regarding the need to gather additional information
relevant to student financial issues.
4. To report annually to SCUP on student financial information in the spring term. SCUP will
prepare a report to Senate and the Board of Governors on student financial issues especially as
such issues might relate to matters of tuition fees and student financial aid in the annual planning
1. To advise the Provost, the Registrar, the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Director of IPB on
the construction of University-wide surveys of Student Financial Issues to be conducted annually
beginning in the fall of 1999.
2. To examine available information relevant to student financial issues in a selected subset of
Western's programs as a pilot project intended to shape the annual reporting process. The pilot
project should focus on the undergraduate and Category 1 graduate programs in the Faculties of
Arts and Social Science, the HBA, MD, and DDS programs, and Category 2 graduate programs
in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and the Faculty of Health Sciences.
3 members from, and selected by, SCUP, one
of whom shall be designated as Chair:
- K. McQuillan
- J. Thorp
- J. Cairney
Dean of Graduate Studies or
Director of IPB or designate
See Annex 1 (shown below).
Report on the 246th Meeting of the Council of Ontario Universities
D.M.R. Bentley, Academic Colleague
At the meetings of the Academic Colleagues and the Council of Ontario Universities at the
University of Waterloo on May 27 and 28, several matters of interest and importance to Senate
were decided and discussed:
- Council approved the Report of the Committee that was struck in 1998 to Review the role,
structure and appraisal process of the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS). Three of
the recommendations of the report occasioned some debate and apprehension: (1) the
recommendation that "[c]onsultants should be retained for all periodic appraisals" (concern
was expressed about the cost of this); (2) the recommendation that "OCGS should consider
reviving the issuing of disciplinary reports..." (the concern here was that such reports might not
merely provide a context for programs, but also serve as a means of ranking them); and (3) the
recommendation that "[t]he membership of the Executive Committee of OCGS should be
increased by one to allow for a permanent seat for the University of Toronto (elephantiasis).
- Council approved amendments to the COU Constitution that would maintain public funding
and Ontario location as the basis for membership while substituting "a significant portion" for
the present fifty percent public-funding requirement, the reason being that Wilfrid Laurier
University now receives only forty percent of its funding from the public purse. In a related
decision, Council voted to reject the application of Redeemer College for membership of COU.
- Council was informed that the Provincial Auditor has expressed dissatisfaction with the
accounting procedures of the Ministry of Education and Training, a fact that could have major
implications for universities.
- Council was informed that the new admissions system has experienced some teething problems
but, on the whole, appears to have worked well.
- Council received information about the Learning Technology Institute that is to be convened in
Toronto in August (a copy of the memorandum has been forwarded to the Educational
Development Office) and COU was urged to involve itself in any co-operative activities
between TVO and the MET in the realm of technology and distance learning.
- Council discussed the possibility of establishing a working group with the Ministry of Energy,
Science, and Technology to ensure the participation of universities in the government's
research and innovation agenda. Both the Colleagues and the Executive Heads were visited by
Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum, the Vice-President of Research and International Affairs at the
University of Toronto, who discussed the mandate and activities of the project on "Research,
Post-Secondary Education and Innovation" that is underway under her leadership and with
funding from the Ontario government. Dr. Munroe-Blum is eager to receive pertinent
submissions either by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or by ordinary mail (Room
12, Simcoe Hall, U. of T.).
- Council learned from two visitors from the Ministry of Science, Research and Art of Baden-Württenberg that the collaboration between their universities and Ontario's is in good health.
- Council was informed by Sally Brown, the Senior Vice-President of National and International
Relations of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, that the AUCC is
mounting advocacy efforts on three fronts: (1) federal transfers to the provinces; (2) support
for "research and innovation", and (3) international educational opportunities for faculty and
students. Ms. Brown also drew attention to an update on the Canada Millennium Scholarships
in the AUCC Presidents' Letter, a copy of which has been forwarded to the Registrar's Office.
- Finally, a climatological note: tension appears to be building at Council on account of a
possible bifurcation of the interests between the large, research-intensive universities (a group
unfortunately known as the G7) and the universities that are regarded as more teaching
oriented. It is clear that great care will have to be taken to prevent the tension from resulting in
a divisive split that could adversely affect the ability of the universities to respond to
government agendas and initiatives in a variety of areas, including "research and innovation"
and the "double cohort".