70 per cent of Ontarians support the creation of three-year degrees at colleges: poll

Ontarians support degree programs at colleges

(TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2021) – 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.

“There is clearly strong support for more degree programs at colleges,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “Expanding our degree programs will open up more opportunities for graduates when they enter the workforce.”

Ontario’s colleges currently offer a mix of four-year degree programs, two-year and three-year diploma programs, in-class apprenticeship training and post-graduate certificate programs for university and college graduates.

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

The proposed 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.

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 the colleges’ range of degree programs.

Specific results included:

  • A total of 69 per cent 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.

“As Ontario rebuilds its economy, we must ensure students have every opportunity to enrol in programs that lead to rewarding careers,” Franklin said. “Expanding the career-focused degree programs will strengthen the workforce and promote a stronger economy.”

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.


For more information:

Amy Dickson
Senior Communications Advisor, Public Affairs


Backgrounder – Research for Ontario’s colleges

The online survey of 1,056 Ontarians 18 or older was conducted for Ontario’s colleges on June 21 by Innovative Research. Below is a summary of the questions and responses cited in the news release.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?: Expanding the range of degree programs at colleges is a good way to create more opportunities to obtain advanced post-secondary education in communities across Ontario.

  • 33% strongly agree
  • 45% somewhat agree
  • 14% neither agree nor disagree
  • 2% somewhat disagree
  • 1% strongly disagree
  • 4% don’t know

When people with a bachelor’s degree complete an additional year of study at a university, they, generally receive a master’s degree. When people with a bachelor’s degree complete an additional year of study at a college, they generally receive a post-graduate certificate.

Please indicate whether you support or oppose allowing colleges to award master’s degrees in career-specific areas rather than post-graduate certificates.

  • 20% strongly support
  • 32% somewhat support
  • 30% neither support or oppose / it would depend on the program
  • 8% somewhat oppose
  • 4% strongly oppose
  • 6% don’t know

Now we are going to read you some ideas people have suggested for changing Ontario’s college system. Please indicate if you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose each idea. If you are completely neutral or have no opinion at all on the proposal, please select that response option.

Provide 3-year degree programs in addition to the 4-year degrees colleges currently offer.

  • 27% strongly support
  • 42% somewhat support
  • 21% neither support nor oppose
  • 4% somewhat oppose
  • 2% strongly oppose
  • 5% don’t know