Higher education in Yukon
Higher education in Yukon is shaped by the territory's small population (30,375 people as of May 2006) in a relatively large geographic area. The history of higher education went hand in hand with the establishment of a representative territorial government in 1979. Yukon School of Visual Arts and Yukon College are the only two higher education institutions in Yukon. Yukon College issues certificate, diploma, and partial and some full degree programs. The college is a community college and as a result it provides in addition to its academic and professional program, Adult Basic Education/literacy programs.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure and governance
- 3 Funding and financial assistance
- 4 Equity, mobility, and access
- 5 Future directions and challenges
- 6 See also
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
Although the Yukon College wasn't formally established until 1988 by the College Act, 1988, its predecessor, the Whitehorse Vocational Training Centre, opened in 1963 with a focus on teaching skills that enabled adults to gain employment. In 1977 there were arrangements with the University of British Columbia to offer university-level programs and courses; however, public demand for more local post-secondary services increased. The birth of Yukon College at the beginning of the 1980s was due to the territorial government’s dissatisfaction with the inadequate programming offered by the only training institute of the region, and the dissatisfaction of its electorate with the occasional extension courses offered through other universities. The research policies and initiatives of the college have also established a foundation of academic training.
In 2007, the Yukon School of Visual Arts was established providing the foundational year towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Bachelor of Design (BDes). The school is a partnership between Dawson City Arts Society, Yukon College and the Tr’ondek Hwech’in. Governance comes from all three partners equally and funding comes for the Yukon Territorial Government. Accreditation comes from Yukon College and articulation agreements are in place with ECIAD, ACAD, OCAD, and NSCAD.
Structure and governance
Higher education and the labour market
The Advanced Education Branch of Yukon Department of Education provides services to Yukon residents through two divisions: Labour Market Programs and Services, and Trades Certification and Training Programs. Amongst the many objectives of these programs, some clearly delineate the relationship between the territory's labour market needs and its higher education. For example, one objective is that these programs promote partnerships with business, labour organisations, Yukon College, First Nations, equity groups, federal government and other jurisdictions in the development and implementation of programs. The programs also develop and deliver labour force initiatives through Community Training Funds and Yukon (Immigrant) Nominee Program. Yukon also has some private trade schools that are regulated by Yukon Government.
Yukon College governance
"The board of governors of Yukon College is responsible for the government, conduct, and management of the operations of the institution including educational policies and activities that relate to quality assurance, particularly establishing programs of study and student admission standards. The act also establishes campus advisory committees to advise the board of governors on the programs and activities of the community campus, with particular reference to the needs of the community. The board of governors is accountable to the minister of education. The minister tables the board's report with the Legislature."
Funding and financial assistance
The Advanced Education branch of Yukon Department of Education supports adult training, education and labour force development through Community Training Funds ($1.45 million for the fiscal year 2006-07), and Student Financial Assistance options such as Yukon Grant ($3.3 million for the fiscal year 2006-07), and Student Training Allowance ($0.5 million for the fiscal year 2006-07).
Over 50 organisations, individual and professional groups have established scholarships to complement the Financial Assistance programs offered by the territorial government.
Yukon College obtains its base operational and capital funding from Yukon Government. Yukon College also draws funding from two other sources. First, the Northern Research Endowment Fund was established in 1989 by the Government of Yukon to support "scholarly research in the humanities, social, pure, and applied sciences that is directly relevant to Yukon." Yukon Government also provides Community Training Funds. For example for the fiscal year 2006-07, $321,383 was allocated to Yukon College training courses.
The territorial government has acts, policies, and regulations concerning Student Financial Assistance for Yukon citizens pursuing their post-secondary studies in or outside of Yukon. For example, during the 2005-2006 academic year, one of the grants, the Yukon Grant assisted 1,118 post-secondary students in their post-secondary studies. Interestingly, of those receiving the Yukon Grant only three out of ten were studying at Yukon College; 44% of the recipients were studying at universities; 4% at university colleges outside of Yukon; and 22% studied outside the territory in programs that may be similar to local alternatives. That is, the educational needs of 68% of the Yukon Grant recipients were served outside of the territory, but financially assisted by the territory. Loan programs include Canada Student Loans, funded by the federal government and administered by the territory. Students may also be eligible for the Canada Millennium Scholarships up to 2010.
In the 2012-13 academic year, full-time tuition fees for Canadian or Alaska residents at Yukon College in university-level credit programs were $324 per three-credit course, or about $3,240 per year for full-time. College preparation costs $216/three-credit course. Students in trades/vocational courses paid $1,620 per term with some programs costing $2,160/term, and those in developmental studies programs paid $350 per term. International student pay more. Tuition fees for international students, other than residents of Alaska, were $266 per credit, or about $3,990 per term. There is no tuition for apprentice training or for seniors. Financial assistance is normally available for apprentices to offset loss of income while attending in-school training, travel and book costs, and living-away-from-home costs where applicable through Employment Insurance funds.
Equity, mobility, and access
In the 1970s, Native groups such as the Yukon Native Brotherhood and the Yukon Association of Non-Status Indians worked on conceiving a northern institution as a response to a lack of government initiatives, and approached the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC), called the First Nations University since 2003, to deliver programs in Yukon. In 1976, SIFC entered into a federation agreement with the University of Regina that provided for an independently administered university-college, the mission of which was to serve the academic, cultural and spiritual needs of First Nations’ students.
From the 1980s, however, Yukon College began to offer courses based on the demands and needs of the first nations communities (e.g., literacy programs, adult high-school programs, vocational training, and Native language instructor training  With the advent of the new millennium, the college had set up a department for First Nations initiatives and a First Nations teacher education program. The latter, is offered in partnership with the University of Regina. The college also outlines in its research policies that its research activities must support the social and economic priorities of First Nations and the Territorial Government, support First Nations and private sector research through partnerships and collaborative agreements with First Nations groups and local private sector research.
Statistical data prepared by the Institutional Research and Planning Office at Yukon College reveals that Yukon has the highest proportion of adults with non-university post secondary education in the country, at 36%, of which 34% are of aboriginal background. More than one out of three Aboriginal Yukoners aged 25 and up had not completed high school or its equivalaency in 2001, as compared with one out of five in the general Yukon adult population. There was also a large gap in university attainment rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations. Overall, 16% of adult Yukoners held a university degree in 2001, but this only applied to 4% of Aboriginal adults. Financial constraints, family responsibilities, and the legacy of residential schooling affecting 87% of all aboriginal families are amongst the major reasons why Aboriginal Yukoners aged 25 to 64 may not complete their education. In the year 2005-2006, 46% of adult Yukon students identified themselves as First Nations people.
People with disabilities
At Yukon College, language courses, certificate, diploma, and university transfer programs are provided to international students and the fees are lower than those in most other Canadian colleges.
Transferability of program credits
Although the Yukon Grant as part of the provincial Student Financial Assistance program assists post-secondary college and university studies anywhere in the country, the top ten institutions outside Yukon for students receiving the grant were mostly in the neighboring provinces of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Yukon students attending these out-of-territory institutions have to observe the credit transfer and articulation agreements within and among the institutes of these provinces.
In a number of articulations with universities in British Columbia, the first two years of university programs can be taken at Yukon College and credited by the BC universities.
Yukon School of Visual Arts, in which Yukon College is a partner, has secured unique articulation agreements with various universities across the country: " "Students who complete the foundation year at the new School of Visual Arts in Dawson City qualify for second year at the southern institutions.". As of 2008, these college and universities include: ECIAD, ACAD, OCAD, and NSCAD.
In addition, in recent times, the college has partnered up with the University of Regina (in the province of Saskatchewan) to offer two four-year bachelor’s programs and with the University of Alaska Southwest, USA, to offer one master’s program in public education in addition to the college’s certificate, diploma and university transfer programs. Yukon College offers a BSc degree in Environmental and Conservation Sciences in a partnership with the University of Alberta. The college has degree-granting authority under the Yukon College Act (2009) but has not yet undertaken development of its own degrees.
As of January 2008, there are 48 trades/occupations in which apprenticeship and certification are available in Yukon. Apprentices obtain a Certificate of Qualification issued by the Department of Education upon completion of all requirements of their apprentice program. Recognition of their completion credentials extends outside Yukon through the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program if a Red Seal examination is available in their trade.
Future directions and challenges
Yukon College is a founding member of the University of the Arctic, run by circumpolar nations; however, to date there is no provincial university in Yukon. This is despite the fact that the Science Council of Canada had already urged its establishment as early as the mid 1970s, and local college board members have been envisioning it, or its university-college status since 2004.
- List of universities in Canada
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- Higher education in Canada
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- Act to Amend Yukon College Act, SY 2009, c 12, <http://canlii.ca/t/krhr> retrieved on 2013-03-05
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