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Ontario colleges are spending $160 million more than they receive from the government to provide mental health services and supports for students — a need that continues to grow and must be addressed, says a new report.
The report, released Tuesday, “is highlighting that we are seeing the acceleration of these challenges beyond what we might have expected to see,” said Linda Franklin, president of Colleges Ontario, which represents the province’s 24 public institutions.
At a time when general overall funding per student has been declining, colleges are “currently diverting significant funds from general operations and academic programming to provide student at-risk support programs and services,” says the report from Deloitte.
“This approach is not sustainable. As a result, colleges have pursued a number of innovations aimed at doing more with less.”
Including, it adds, “more proactive and holistic student support to address problems before a crisis occurs, expanding faculty and staff involvement, adopting new technological solutions, and building community partnerships that share resources and knowledge.”
The report also urges the provincial government to make sure that high school students are better prepared for the academic rigours of post-secondary life, “by encouraging the Ministry of Education to modify high school programs to better meet college requirements.”
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