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Berger 2008, Why Access Matters

Berger 2008, Why Access Matters

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Published by Melonie A. Fullick

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Published by: Melonie A. Fullick on Apr 25, 2011
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MillenniumResearch Note #6
Written by:
Joseph Berger
“Why Access Matters” Revisited:A Review of the Latest Research
Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independentorganization created by an act of Parliament in 1998. The Foundation works toimprove access to post-secondary education for Canadians from all back-grounds; it encourages a high level of achievement and engagement in Canadiansociety; and it brings people and organizations together to understand barriersand improve access to post-secondary education in Canada. Each year, theFoundation distributes $340 million in bursaries and scholarships to studentsacross Canada.
The Research Program
The Millennium Research Program furthers the work of the Foundation byundertaking research and pilot projects aimed at understanding and reducingbarriers to post-secondary education. It ensures that policy-making and publicdiscussion about opportunities in higher education in Canada can be informedby the best available evidence.
Research Note Series
Part of the mission of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is toimprove access to post-secondary education so that Canadians can acquire theknowledge and skills needed to participate in a changing economy and society.Higher education provides the prospects for personal fulfillment and economicadvancement to which Canadians from all backgrounds are entitled. TheFoundation carries out extensive research, collecting and analyzing data fromsurveys and pilot projects, so that we can better understand the barriers that pre-vent some students from making it to the post-secondary level and so that we canidentify means to alleviate those barriers.Within the broad scope of our research, we uncover certain trends, questionsand issues that call for wider public dialogue. This research note, the fifth inan ongoing series examining issues of access and funding for post-secondaryeducation, seeks to inform this dialogue and the development of new programsand policies.
“Why Access Matters” Revisited: A Review of the Latest Research
In February 2007 the Canada MillenniumScholarship Foundation issued a report enti-tled
The Price of Knowledge 2006–07: Why Access Matters
. The report’s central argument,that post-secondary enrolment in Canada willsoon decline unless steps are taken toimprove the participation rate of youth cur-rently under-represented at colleges and uni-versities, sparked some controversy. Sincethen, new evidence has been published thathas nourished the discussion of enrolmentforecasts, the capacity of colleges and univer-sities to receive more students and the needsof Canada’s labour market. Like
Why Access Matters
, the more recent reports concur thatthe need for advanced education amongCanada’s population has never been greaterand will only continue to grow, and, mostimportantly, that demographic factors willmake it increasingly challenging for Canadato graduate the number of highly skilled andeducated young adults that its economy andsociety will require.This research note seeks to clarify the discus-sion by examining the latest data on the inter-actions between higher education and thelabour market and providing an analysis of recent reports discussing the post-secondaryenrolment outlook. It also highlights newinformation on the benefits of post-second-ary studies and provides an update on thesocio-economic background of the currentstudent body.This note confirms the points made in
Why Access Matters
regarding the substantialinfluence that demographic trends will haveon post-secondary enrolment in Canadaduring the next two decades. The tail end of the so-called “Echo Boom”the children of the Baby Boom generationis currentlyapproaching adulthood. The population of 18-to24-year-olds, which composes themajority of post-secondary students, willpeak within the next five years. This will putpressure on the capacity of many of Canada’scolleges and universities to accommodatemore students. By 2013–14, however, the sizeof the young adult population will begin tofall, and by 2016 it will be lower than it istoday. Looking beyond the immediate pres-sures on institutional capacity, therefore,longer-term gains in enrolment depend onour ability to increase the percentage of youthwho continue their studies after high school.This, in turn, can best occur if universitiesand colleges succeed in recruiting, enrollingand graduating more Canadians from popu-lations currently under-represented on post-secondary campuses, specifically low-incomeyouth, children of parents with limited post-secondary education and Aboriginal Peoples.
Labour Force
Labour force projections prepared byStatistics Canada in June 2007 underscorethe need for advanced education and training
“Why Access Matters” Revisited:A Review of the Latest Research
Lookingbeyond theimmediatepressures oninstitutionalcapacity,longer-termgains inenrolmentdepend onour ability toincrease thepercentageof youth whocontinuetheir studiesafter highschool.”

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