- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario Supporting Colleges and Universities Most Impacted by COVID-19
March 19, 2021
The Ontario government is providing $106.4 million to help publicly assisted colleges and universities address the financial impacts of COVID-19. This investment will support the sustainability of the post-secondary sector and ensure students continue to get the skills and education they need for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow. "The post-secondary sector is critical to Ontario's prosperity as a key source of job creation, skills training, research, innovation and commercialization, making it one of the leading contributors to Ontario's economic recovery," said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. "We need to make sure that students continue to receive high-quality post-secondary education and get the skills they need to get good jobs. That is why we are establishing a fund for severely impacted colleges and universities to help address the financial impacts of COVID-19 and to maintain Ontario's position as a global leader in higher education." The funding will provide immediate and targeted support for post-secondary institutions that are most affected by decreases in tuition and ancillary revenues and have incurred expenses associated with online learning, personal protective equipment and enhanced cleaning. Institutions can also use the funding in 2020-21 to offset COVID-19 expenses related to student financial supports and human resources. Universities and colleges eligible to receive support funding. "The post-secondary sector continues to be vibrant and in sound financial health," said Minister Romano. "However, COVID-19 has impacted some institutions more severely than others. That's why we are providing targeted support to the institutions most impacted."
Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario distributed $25 million in additional funding to publicly-assisted colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes to help address each institution’s most pressing needs, including purchasing medical supplies, offering mental health supports and deep cleaning campus facilities.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, every $1 invested in postsecondary education generates a positive economic return on investment estimated at $1.36.
The university and college sectors had annual surpluses of $863 million and $333 million respectively at the end of 2019-20.
The Postsecondary Education Support Fund allocates funding to institutions using an approach that accounts for size as well as COVID-19 related revenue impacts and added expenses relative to an institution’s existing surplus in order to target those that need it most.