From Higher Education Strategy Associates

Faced with the prospect of reduced government funding to universities, a majority of Canadian students would be willing to accept tuition increases if universities would reduce their operating costs and take steps to preserve student aid, teaching standards and student services, a new Higher Education Strategy Associates report reveals.

“Canadian students appear willing to carry a share of the burden in the wake of budget cuts, which are likely on the horizon,” said Joseph Berger, Higher Education Strategy Associates’ director of business development and communications and co-author of the study, President for a Day: Students’ Preferences for Dealing with a Budget Crisis. “Students, however, insist that universities must also demonstrate significant belt-tightening, in which case they would be willing to do their part to preserve financial aid, teaching and student services, areas that have not been top priority for universities in recent years.”

While only 10% of students would prefer to keep tuition frozen in the face of operating budget cuts of 10%, one-third of students would rather off-set cuts by raising tuition 5%, while another third would off-set cuts by raising tuition 10%. Nearly half of all students surveyed would prefer universities to seek revenue by pursuing joint ventures with business, while only 36% were opposed (16% of students had no preference).


To read the report, select the following address:


  1. Very interesting report. It seems that students are suggesting a deeper partnership and more integration of priorities (vs a focus on primarily research, for example). My perspective is largely influenced by the United States system. I think, however, most HiEd systems across the world (particularly western) are experiencing these types of questions to a degree. Given the budget projections for years to come, it would seem that public institutions need to consider research, teaching, and service as equal priorities (no matter the mission), be more collaborative and transparent inside and outside each institution, and respond to change much more quickly than we have in the past. Easier said than done even if we change our paradigm. I think, tho, we can learn a lot from students and this report…if we are willing.


  2. Thanks for the notes, Andy.
    I agree that we can (and should) learn a great deal from the student’s perspective – even for those issues for which we have not traditionally sought their input, such as budgets.
    Also interesting that a recent report from Clay Christenson, Disrupting Colleges, suggests that the best place to look for savings in the current college cost structure is not in efficiencies, but in institutional focus. Trying to serve all three missions – research, teaching, and life-preparation – dramatically increases institutional overhead and can reduce our ability to do any one of these three missions well. You can find that report here:


  3. Another interesting report, huh?

    Because research, teaching, and service our often cornerstones for many institutions where structures and funding lines (coming in and going out) are deeply embedded, changing the focus on one (particularly at large, public, research) would take an act of God. I agree with the report that institutions of higher education often have too many competing interests by too many stakeholders. I wonder, however, if it’s more of a leadership issue (setting, aligning resources, and communicating goals and objectives) vs having three priorities. Shifting the paradigm where one priority is more important than the other two to a paradigm where all three are equally as important and are interdependent could enhance the learning and development of our students, increase revenue, and be more beneficial to society.

    There is a pretty good article in Change Magazine that asks the questions, “But have these institutions been able to update their missions to serve the needs of a post-industrial economy? In particular, how have they responded to the increasing rate of change and intensifying global competition that are hallmarks of the 21st century?” The authors use North Carolina State as a good, emerging example of integration of research, teaching, and service to respond to the rapidly changing world. The article can be read at

    There are many perspectives on how to resolve the budget crisis. I hope we can become more disruptive, innovative, and responsive.

    Thanks for sharing these reports…very thought-provoking.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s