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70 per cent of Ontarians support the creation of three-year degrees at colleges: poll

Three-year programs would create more career options for graduates, including new opportunities to advance into management positions, the Colleges Ontario advocacy association says.

September 27, 2021  by CM Staff

A new poll shows that nearly 70 per cent of Ontarians support creating three-year college degree programs.

“There is clearly strong support for more degree programs at colleges,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “Expanding our degree programs will open up more opportunities for graduates when they enter the workforce.”

Colleges Ontario is an advocacy association for the province’s 24 colleges.

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.

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Colleges Ontario wants 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,” Colleges Ontario said in a Sept. 27 news release.

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:

  • A total of 69 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

“As Ontario rebuilds its economy, we must ensure students have every opportunity to enrol in programs that lead to rewarding careers,” Franklin said. “Expanding the career-focused degree programs will strengthen the workforce and promote a stronger economy.”

The online survey of 1,056 Ontarians 18 or older was conducted June 21, 2021, by Innovative Research Group Inc. Because it was an online survey, there is no calculation of the margin of error.