Institutional Differentiation and Student Mobility

CIHE recently released a report by Dr. Stacey Young, Dr. Pierre Piché and Prof. Glen Jones that examined the compatibility of two Ontario higher education policy goals: greater institutional differentiation and enhanced student mobility (credit transfer and institutional articulation). This report was supported by the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer.

Two Towers of Transformation: The compatibility of the policy goals of differentiation and student mobility examined the degree of intersection between two policy goals. While both policies attempt to drive quality, reduce cost structures and increase access to higher education, they are also very much aligned from an efficiency/effectiveness and public good/social justice perspective.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 9.41.38 PMThe report is an in-depth examination of the policy levers that impact differentiation and student mobility in Ontario with the objective of identifying their common elements. It begins with an examination of the benefit and challenges to students, institutions and government of increased differentiation and student mobility followed by a discussion that places the policy analysis in an historical context. It also makes use of a number of institutional articulation case studies to draw out key characteristics of these partnerships that can be mapped against institutional types used in differentiating the higher education system by clusters of institutions in Ontario.

The report also examined the extent to which various institutional types have been engaged in credit transfer, and compared and contrasted the various strategies used to increase credit transfers, provide support to transfer students and improve access to information.

The report concludes by suggesting that institutions must make a greater commitment to nurturing student mobility if the government is moving forward with its differentiation agenda and makes a series of recommendations within the broader funding formula and Ontario Student Assistance Program policies and practices:

  • As part of the funding formula review for the university sector, establish an extra formula enrolment envelope to encourage institutions to increase the number of transfer students (through program partnerships, credit transfer and the creation of articulation agreements).
  • Going forward, request that institutions include as part of their Strategic Mandate Agreement submission, a discussion of the institution’s transfer capacity and how it will be achieved through the use of one or both student mobility tools.
  • Ensure that the distance component of the Ontario Student Assistance Program is sufficient (in terms of both value and policy intent) to meet the costs of student mobility and choice.

You can read the full report here.

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