Research Reports

From time to time, OUSA releases various research reports based on public opinion polls, surveys, or other research on a pertinent topic related to post-secondary education.

Paying Our Way: A Look at Student Financial Assistance Usage in Ontario

One of the core principles of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is that all willing and qualified students should be able to attend post-secondary regardless of their ability to pay. However, students in Ontario face the highest tuition fees in the country and the cost and perceived costs of post-secondary education are consistently identified as barriers to post-secondary education. These barriers are contributing factors to the persistently high attainment gaps for various vulnerable groups in pursuing an undergraduate degree.

We Work Hard for Our Money: Student Employment and the University Experience in Ontario

In November 2013, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) asked students to comment on their experience with summer and in-study employment. Of particular interest were: the number of jobs students were working during these terms; whether or not these opportunities were within a student’s field of study; and whether they positively impacted their academic performance.

Beyond the Traditional Classroom: Teaching and Learning in Contemporary Higher Education

OUSA asked students to answer questions about their experience with high-impact learning, active and participatory learning, work-integrated learning, and online courses. Students were also asked to provide their impressions about what resources should be prioritized within their university, as well as how they viewed the balance between teaching and learning at their institution.

Rising Costs: A Look at Spending at Ontario Universities

The Ontario government announced in 2005 that it would increase operating grants to colleges and universities $1.2 billion by 2009/10, both accomodating enrolment growth and increasing per-student funding. Soon after, the government announced a new tuition framework that allowed tuition fees to increase by an average of 5 per cent per year. As a result, university operating revenue has risen by over $3,000 per student since 2004/05. After adjusting for inflation, this represented a substantial new investment of nearly $2,000 for each student in Ontario‘s universities or an annual increase of 2.4 per cent beyond the general rate of inflation.

Evaluating Public Opinion on Post-Secondary Education in Ontario

In early September 2011, OUSA and the College Student Alliance commissioned Abacus Data to conduct a public opinion survey of Ontarians over the age of 18 to gauge the public‟s attitudes towards post-secondary education. An election is a great time to survey the public because it is the one time when it is most engaged and most likely to be thinking about policy issues. With an election underway and school back in session, it was an excellent time to find out where the public is when it comes to PSE.

What Students Want: Results of the Ontario Student Survey

More than $6 billion is spent annually on operating Ontario’s universities, of which students contribute over $2.7 billion. With such a substantial public and private investment in higher education, it is of paramount importance that this money be well spent. Asking students – the principal stakeholder of Ontario universities – what they want from their education should be a primary component of this exercise.

Global Examination of Post-Secondary Education Cost Recovery Models

This study seeks to first introduce the cost recovery model currently in place for both the university and college system in Canada and Ontario. Secondly, it provides a comparative summary of post-secondary cost recovery models utilized by a wide selection of other democratic countries with market economies. If the purpose of the study is to make sure Ontario is not missing the forest for the trees, so to speak, then the definitive conclusion of the report is that it is a big and complex forest out there. Through the in-depth examination of global systems, many very interesting patterns and models have emerged, and it is likely that the findings and implications outlined at the conclusion of this report are only the beginning of a longer discussion about how to continue to improve the post-secondary education system in Ontario for our students for years to come.

Ontario’s Knowledge Economy: The Economic Impact of Post-Secondary Education

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance has long advocated for greater public investment in the province’s universities, to increase participation rates and the overall quality of education. There exists a large body of research that indicates both of these goals are extremely beneficial to Ontario’s economy and to the fight against poverty; however there is very little awareness of these benefits among the general public. This report will highlight the need for investment in universities and will provide a brief overview of the research in support of universities as drivers of economic growth. More specifically, we focus on the individual and societal benefits of a university-educated population, the importance of increasing quality in our institutions, and the local economic impact of Ontario’s universities.