STEM programs at Oshawa’s Durham College to get provincial funding boost


Published June 3, 2024 at 12:32 pm

STEM programs, Durham College

Durham College STEM programs will get a nearly $1.5 million boost from the provincial government to help make up funding shortfalls from Ottawa’s freeze on international students.

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is providing the Oshawa-based school with $1,435,517 to support domestic students entering the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, with Whitby MPP Lorne Coe declaring the cash infusion is to “alleviate financial hardship in their STEM programs caused by over-enrollment.”

The federal government introduced a hard cap on the number of international students allowed in Canada last year and the Province is “working closely” with the postsecondary sector to achieve what Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy calls a “fair allocation” of the available study permits.

Bethlenfalvy, also the Pickering-Uxbridge MPP, said investing in STEM programs is not just about investing in education.

“It’s planting the seeds of innovation, powering the engines of progress, and creating a brighter future,” he said. “This investment will assist in scientific discovery, engineering marvels, and technological breakthroughs that will shape our communities and province.”

Durham College offers more than 25 STEM-driven programs to support industry needs.

“This investment ensures that we are preparing skilled, qualified and experienced graduates, ultimately creating a stronger and more productive community,” said Durham College President Dr. Elaine Popp.

“Building an interest in STEM starts early,” she added, citing a program now in its fifth year where Grade 7 and 8 girls participate in a day of interactive workshops designed to “foster a sense of curiosity” in science, technology and skilled trades and to introduce them to career opportunities in these fields. “We are committed to ensuring these career paths are accessible and available to all those who wish to pursue them.”

The provincial government is also extending the tuition freeze for at least three more years. Colleges and universities will still be able to increase tuition by up to five per cent for out-of-province domestic students.

Colleges and Universities Minister Jill Dunlop said at the time the freeze was first introduced Ontario had the highest university tuition rates in the country.

“It’s never been more important to keep costs down for students and parents,” Dunlop said. “We’re making historic investments to stabilize colleges and universities. We’re taking action to make fees more transparent. We’re supporting student mental health, fostering safer campuses and preparing students for rewarding careers.”

The province is also introducing legislation that would, if passed, support student mental health, safe and inclusive campuses and allow for increased transparency of fees. This suite of measures also includes initiatives that will help connect students to rewarding careers to help build Ontario’s skilled workforce.

STEM programs, Durham College



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