Trends in Higher Education – Volume 3. Finance
• Canadian universities serve more than 1.5 million full- and part-time students in various degree and continuing education programs and employ more than 150,000 full-time faculty and full- and part‑time professional, technical and support staff.
• Nationally, universities are a $26 billion enterprise – larger than the pulp and paper industry, the oil and gas extraction industry, the utilities sector, the combined arts, entertainment and recreation industries and such prominent manufacturing industries as aerospace, motor vehicle, metal fabricating, furniture and plastic products.Comparing Canada to the U.S., U.K. and Australia
• On a per student basis, U.S. four-year public universities and colleges have significantly more resources to fund research and teaching activities than their counterparts in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. Compared to their Canadian counterparts, universities in the U.S. have $8,000 CAD more revenues per student and the gap has grown over the last 30 years. At the beginning of the 1980s, Canadian universities had a $2,000 per student funding advantage compared to their U.S. public peers, but that advantage eroded quickly over the first half of the 1980s, and since the beginning of the 1990s, the funding advantage of public U.S. universities has grown steadily to more than $8,000 CAD per student (All monetary amounts in this document appear in constant 2006-07 dollars, unless otherwise indicated).
• The per-student funding gap between Canada and the U.S. – or resource advantage – means greater investments in the learning environment in the U.S. than in Canadian universities, including investments in faculty. Between 1987 and 2006, full-time equivalent enrolment in Canada grew by 56 percent while growth in full-time faculty increased by only 18 percent. During the same period, full-time equivalent enrolment in U.S. four-year public universities and colleges grew by an estimated 33 percent, matching the 33 percent increase in full-time faculty.
• In the U.K., per student funding grew from $17,000 CAD to $20,600 CAD between 1994-95 and 2006-07. That compares to just less than $21,000 CAD in Canada and $29,000 CAD in the U.S. Based on recent policy changes, it is likely that U.K. universities will continue to close some of the funding gap with their U.S. public peers and move further ahead of Canadian universities over the next few years.
• In the U.K. between 1995-96 and 2006‑07, full-time equivalent enrolment grew by 25 percent compared to a 20 percent increase in full-time faculty. As investments increased
more rapidly in the latter half of that period, increases in full-time faculty numbers have more closely matched enrolment increases.
• In Australia, per student funding fell between 1996 and 2002, before it began to recover in 2003. By 2006, per student funding was just under $20,000 CAD – almost the same as their Canadian counterparts.
• Since 1995, full-time equivalent enrolment in Australia has grown by 41 percent, much faster than the 10 percent increase in fulltime faculty from 2001 until 2006‑07. Recently, student faculty ratios have stabilized – but at historically high levels.
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