Credit transfer system improved

The provincial government announced on Jan. 17 that they would be improving credit transfer between post-secondary institutions, helping students graduate faster and effectively save money.

Over the next five years, $73.7 million will be spent towards a Credit Transfer Innovation Fund to develop new transfer opportunities between schools and create a website that will host a list of those options as they continue to grow.

“One of the immediate steps we’re doing is to build a very sophisticated portal that will give students access to a lot of the information that is needed,” said John Milloy, minister of training, colleges and universities, in reference to the preliminary changes to be launched this September.

This information will allow students to plan their options whether they’re interested in moving from a college program to a degree program at a university, or looking for more hands-on skills at the college level after completing a degree.

Considering the current system that does include approximately 500 transfer agreements between individual universities and colleges, Milloy said, “You don’t have access to all the info you want about how your degree would be treated.”

To supplement these changes, Milloy explained, “[We are] working with the institutions, providing them the resources if necessary to provide support to students who are interested in exploring their options at institutions.”

The funding towards the post-secondary sector was approved in the provincial budget last March; however, the last 18 months required a great deal of planning before this project could move forward.

“We’ve got to give some credit to students, their leadership organizations like OUSA, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, Canadian Federation of Students, the College Student Alliance,” Milloy said attributing the government’s focus on particular concerns such as credit transferring to student advocacy groups.

Meaghan Coker, president of OUSA, expressed the importance of the province’s funding. “It’s something that students and other people in the sector have been asking for a very, very long time and I think it is a great step towards streamlining the system between universities and colleges,” she stated.

With the organization’s annual Blue Chair campaign launching this week at Wilfrid Laurier University, and in the following weeks at other universities across the province, this announcement reflects growing support for the education sector.

“Blue Chair represents the student that couldn’t make it [in to the university system], that they couldn’t overcome those barriers,” Coker explained. “Certainly by developing a credit transfer system it’s working towards one of the identified barriers which is pathway immobility.”

While this does mark an improvement to accessing education, Coker noted that there are still financial, motivational and informational barriers that OUSA will continue to advocate against.

Aware of the importance of creating greater access to post-secondary education, Milloy said, “Jobs in the new economy need education and training beyond high school.”

“If we don’t have a good post-secondary education system, we’re not going to have the prosperity that we need as a province,” he concluded.