Thousands of college students withdraw from school following strike

Published On December 7, 2017 | By HN Staff | College Strike, Humber Strike, News

By: Murissa Barrington

Several of Ontario’s colleges have reported that thousands of students have decided to drop out of their programs since the province-wide faculty strike ended two weeks ago.

Tuesday, Dec. 5 was the last day for students to withdraw from school following the five-week strike and receive a full tuition refund from Ontario colleges.

When asked how many students dropped out of Humber College, Andrew Leopold, Humber’s Director of Communications, said they didn’t have any information yet.

Leopold said that when they do receive the numbers, they would be sure to share them with Humber News.

While the province—and some schools—aren’t releasing their numbers, some colleges have willingly shared their information with the public.

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Overall, most of the colleges have reported that dropout rates are being followed by modest re-enrollment in January. This would suggest that many students are choosing to start fresh in the new year.

Ontario college students returned to classes on November 21st after the provincial government passed back-to-work legislation that forced the end of the month-long strike.

Colleges have since adjusted their academic calendars to try to make up for time that students lost.

This means holiday breaks for some students will be cut short with classes ending on December 22nd and resuming as early as January 2nd.

Some colleges, including Humber, even decided to cancel their reading week.

Confederation College in Thunder Bay was the only college to extend their semester past the usual end date of April 27th. Confederation students won’t be finished their Winter 2018 semester until May 11th.

The provincial government said they would reveal the number of withdrawals at all the colleges today but have since gone back on that promise.

The announcement – which was supposed to take place this afternoon is postponed until further notice.

Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deb Matthews explained that they “simply don’t have all of the numbers” from all of the 24 Ontario colleges and therefore weren’t ready to release the data.

“I want to make sure that when we do release them, they are the correct numbers,” Matthews said.

In a written statement, Matthews said the province will continue to work towards getting the dropout numbers in a timely fashion.

“We will continue to do this work and share the province-wide sector withdrawal rate when we are able to confirm they reflect the final numbers reported by colleges, as quickly as we can. Once that is available, I understand that individual colleges will be able to share their local numbers.”

Matthews also said that based on the preliminary data the province has received, it appears “the vast majority” of students have chosen to stay in school.

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