Survery finds public support for the creation of three-year college degrees

According to a study being released by Confederation College, Ontarians overwhelmingly support proposals to expand the range of career-focused degree programs at colleges with nearly 70 per cent supporting the creation of new three-year degree programs, a new poll has found.

“We are encouraged to see a large number of Ontarians supportive of more opportunities for students and future generations of students to fulfil their career ambitions,” said Kathleen Lynch, President of Confederation College. “Students are already putting in the hard work in our three-year programs and we want to be able to offer them this distinction. Providing three-year degree programs will open more doors for graduates to advance in their careers.”

Confederation Colleges currently offers a mix of two-year and three-year diploma programs, in-class apprenticeship training and post-graduate certificate programs for university and college graduates.

Ontario colleges, including Confederation, are urging the provincial government to approve policy changes that would allow colleges to broaden their career-specific degree programs.

The proposed provincial changes would include the creation of new three-year degree programs, an increase in the number of four-year degree programs and the creation of master’s degree programs in specialized technical areas such as robotics, cybersecurity and animation. The changes would create more career options for graduates, including new opportunities to advance into management positions.

“It would be an incredible opportunity to build on the success of our programs,” said Kathleen Lynch. “Expanding the degree programs will give students recognition for the skills and knowledge they acquire in college programs and that employers are seeking in today’s graduates.”

The online survey of more than 1,000 Ontario adults was conducted last month by Innovative Research. Overall, the research found strong support for broadening Ontario colleges’ range of degree programs.

Specific results included:

  • A total of 69% of respondents supported or strongly supported the proposal to allow colleges to offer three-year degrees. Twenty-six per cent were neutral or unsure and six per cent were opposed.
  • Nearly 80 per cent of respondents believe expanding degree programs at colleges is a good way to create more opportunities for students, with 79 per cent supporting or strongly supporting the idea, 18 per cent neutral or unsure and only three per cent opposed.
  • More than half of respondents supported the creation of master’s degree programs at colleges, with 52 per cent supporting the idea, 11 per cent opposed and 36 per cent neutral or unsure.

The online survey of 1,056 Ontarians 18 or older was conducted June 21, 2021, by Innovative Research Group Inc. for Ontario’s colleges. Because it was an online survey, there is no calculation of the margin of error.