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Bay of Quinte MPP announces new opportunity for college partnerships

Bay of Quinte Conservative MPP Todd Smith is a Loyalist College graduate. He hopes that the college will continue to “grow as a key contributor to the Bay of Quinte economy.” Photo by Liam Radford

By Max Reid, [1] Liam Radford, [2] Connor Robinson [3] and Ryan Peddigrew [4]

BELLEVILLE – Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith and Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano were at Loyalist College on Tuesday to announce a new policy that will allow partnerships between colleges and the private sector to educate international students.

In a news release issued earlier Tuesday, Romano announced that the new policy is being implemented to make colleges more financially competitive. The new policy will deliver programs “to more students in more locations” and invest the money back into colleges, according to the release.

Ross Romano, Ontario’s minister of colleges and universities, addressed a crowd in the Loyalist College Link Lounge Tuesday about the public-private partnership initiative. Photo by Liam Radford, QNet News

After the announcement at Loyalist’s Link Lounge, the minister told QNet News that the initiative allows for more flexibility.

“A publicly funded college, for instance Loyalist, would find a private partner in the private sector. The two would determine what type of an education curriculum they want to put together, find a location and the amount of students they would allow to be permitted to have at that particular location would be based on a ratio of how many students and international students exist at the local campus.”

The policy will only affect international students directly, and will probably draw more of them to Ontario, Roman said.

MPP Smith told QNet that the international students who would be involved with Loyalist through such a partnership would probably be in the Greater Toronto area.

“I know the population of students here (in Belleville) is about 38 per cent international students right now. Because of the lack of housing and lack of residence buildings here, it’s difficult right now to increase the number of international students.”

Romano told QNet News, “We have international students around the world that know about college and university education in Ontario and want to come to Ontario,” adding that he hopes the new program will help direct international students away from large urban centres and draw them toward smaller communities, such as Hastings County, in order to help aid local economies and fill skills gaps.

Domestic students could indirectly benefit from more funds and a more diverse student body, he added.

Smith also spoke about how the revenue generated by the partnership program would potentially benefit the Loyalist’s campus in Belleville: “They’re now going to have a revenue stream that they can depend on. And I think that will allow them to enhance the college footprint here, which makes the college more of a desirable location for domestic students as well, not just international students.”

Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College’s president and chief executive officer, said Loyalist and the community will benefit from the partnership. Photo by Ryan Peddigrew, QNet News

Loyalist College president Ann Marie Vaughan is quoted in the news release as saying that “the new policy on public-private partnerships will allow us to attract and train more international students who will contribute to our workforce, helping to bolster Ontario’s economy and offset the province’s declining domestic student population.”