Ontarians overwhelmingly support proposals to expand the range of career-focused degree programs at colleges with nearly 70 per cent supporting the creation of new three-year degree programs, a new poll has found.
"People clearly want to see students provided with more opportunities to fulfil their career ambitions," said Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St. Lawrence College. "Providing more degree programs will also provide greater access to a broader range of educational opportunities to more people within our local communities, benefiting not only our students but also employers and the regional economy."
Ontario’s colleges currently offer a mix of four-year degree programs, two-year and three-year diploma programs, in-class apprenticeship training and post-graduate certificate programs for university and college graduates. St. Lawrence College currently offers three degree programs, a Bachelor of Business Administration in partnership with Laurentian University, and its own Honours Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Psychology.
Colleges are urging the provincial government to approve policy changes that would allow colleges to broaden their career-specific degree programs.
The proposed changes would include the creation of new three-year degree programs, an increase in the number of four-year degree programs and the creation of master’s degree programs in specialized technical areas such as robotics, cybersecurity and animation. The changes would create more career options for graduates, including new opportunities to advance into management positions.
The online survey of more than 1,000 Ontario adults was conducted last month by Innovative Research. Overall, the research found strong support for broadening the colleges’ range of degree programs.
Specific results included:
- Nearly 80 per cent of respondents believe expanding degree programs at colleges is a good way to create more opportunities for students, with 79 per cent supporting or strongly supporting the idea, 18 per cent neutral or unsure and only three per cent opposed.
- A total of 70 per cent of respondents supported or strongly supported the proposal to allow colleges to offer three-year degrees. Twenty-six per cent were neutral or unsure and six per cent were opposed.
- More than half of respondents supported the creation of master’s degree programs at colleges, with 52 per cent supporting the idea, 11 per cent opposed and 36 per cent neutral or unsure.
"This is a great opportunity to build on the tremendous success of our college programs,” Vollebregt said. “Expanding the degree programs at colleges will help more students acquire the specialized expertise sought by employers."
The online survey of 1,056 Ontarians 18 or older was conducted June 21, 2021, by Innovative Research Group Inc. for Ontario’s colleges. Because it was an online survey, there is no calculation of the margin of error.