Lakehead University and Georgian College will continue to collaborate to establish needed new degree programs for students in Central Ontario. This follows the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities announcement that major capacity expansion funding will not be awarded to the region.
“We recognize and support the need for fiscal responsibility, which is why throughout this process, we have offered a realistic, affordable solution to expanding degree capacity,” says Lakehead University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Brian Stevenson. “We propose leveraging existing resources to create space for new students today. There is incredible potential to expand access for students without immediate capital investment.”
Lakehead and Georgian will maximize the use of existing space to add 2,000 new degree students – 1,200 at Georgian’s Barrie Campus and 800 at Lakehead University’s Orillia Campus – without adding any new infrastructure.
Students will receive the best of university and college education – many in integrated programs, earning both a university degree and college diploma in four years.
“There is most certainly a need for increased degree capacity in Central Ontario,” says Georgian President and CEO Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes. “Local employers tell us that need is particularly acute in fields such as science, health, and technology. Providing local access to new in-demand degrees will deliver long-term workforce benefits and economic expansion across our region.”
Lakehead and Georgian are already working on program development, and anticipate new programs as early as September 2016.
“The benefits are clear – improved access to postsecondary education, close to home, for more students throughout Simcoe County and Central Ontario today,” says Stevenson. “We have the solution to meeting the needs of students and communities over the next several years, and there is no reason to wait.”
Bringing 2,000 new degree students to Central Ontario would generate an ongoing economic impact of up to $110 million for Central Ontario and create additional jobs for faculty and staff in Barrie and Orillia.
For additional information about the major capacity expansion announcement, read the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities news release.