For More Information: Alex Usher (416) 848-0215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TORONTO, ON, February 25, 2009 — Warning that post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is about to head back towards conditions last seen in the mid-1990s, the newest publication from the Educational Policy Institute (EPI), On the Brink: How the Recession of 2009 Will Affect Post-Secondary Education, takes an in-depth look at the profound affects the recession will have on both revenues and expenditures in the PSE sector. The report’s authors suggest how governments and institutions might respond in order to not only survive this crisis, but perhaps even be in a position to thrive once the recovery arrives.
“It is clear that post-secondary education is facing difficult times as a result of this recession,” said report co-author and EPI Vice-President Alex Usher. “There is, however, still time to save the system from decline if university and college presidents and premiers react quickly and make wise choices on policy and budgeting.”
The report briefly outlines the key effects of the recession on Canada’s system of post-secondary education:
“It may be too late to respond with upcoming provincial budgets, but governments have an opportunity in the 2010 budget cycle to make the right choices. It will still be a hard few years for institutions, but if governments do not respond appropriately, it could be even worse,” cautioned Usher.
Institutions faced with rising costs and shrinking budgets will need help in the short-term to reduce their cost-base and diversify their revenues. On the Brink lists a number of ways government can help institutions achieve this, including:
From a longer-term perspective, the economic recession will likely coincide with broader demographic shifts – most notably, the retirement of large numbers of baby boomers – that will squeeze government budgets in ways that prevent governments from re-investing in PSE. As a result, it is possible that we are now entering a state of permanently declining per-student revenues, or “Peak Post-Secondary Education”. While Peak PSE is not inevitable, it is still possible and governments and institutions need to be prepared to respond in a number of ways including increasing internationalization and thinking seriously about the methods through which learning is delivered at the institutional level.
“As the saying goes, ‘a crisis is a terrible thing to waste’”, said report co-author, Ryan Dunn. “Though few schools are likely to survive the recession unscathed, provided they react now and receive appropriate support from governments, Canada’s post-secondary institutions may be able to turn these challenges into opportunities.”
The full EPI report will be available here.
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The Educational Policy Institute is a 501(c)3 corporation based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with offices in Winnipeg, Canada, and Melbourne, Australia. The mission of the Educational Policy Institute is to “expand educational opportunity for low-income and other historically-underrepresented students through high-level research and analysis.” For more information on EPI or its evaluation work, visit www.educationalpolicy.org.