OCAD University

OCAD announces major Student Assistance Challenge

(Toronto—September 9, 2009) Student financial need is the reason the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) today announced the official launch of its Student Assistance Challenge (SAC). The Campaign is a key response by the university in recognizing the financial shortfall for many students registered in art and design programs at OCAD.

Over 50% of OCAD students need financial support to complete their education. This summer student unemployment reached 21%, the highest rate since 1977 (Statistics Canada). Given the state of our Canadian economy, many families are less able to afford the post-secondary education of their children. Materials fees for a studio-based education also add substantially to the cost of tuition in comparison with an entirely classroom-based environment.

“OCAD has already seen a 7.5% increase in financial aid requests from students for this year,” said Kelly Dickinson, Manager, Financial Aid & Awards.

The recessionary economic climate and high student unemployment this summer were added impetus for the OCAD Foundation’s decision to focus their support of students in the form of a dedicated campaign. The Foundation Board has committed to raising $500,000 over the next three years to help students pay for their education. Every dollar contributed will be matched by the Student Assistance Challenge and made available to students in the form of bursaries.

“Student financial need at OCAD is substantial and rising,” stated OCAD Foundation Board Chair, John Vivash. “We strongly believe that we have a moral obligation to support our students at a time when the need is as dire as it is today.”

“OCAD has made a commitment to put students first,” said Sarah McKinnon, Vice-President, Academic. “These are extraordinary times at OCAD. While our university has seen the most dramatic increase in the Ontario University system in the number of students who accepted their offer of admission to study here this fall — we experienced a 30% increase from Ontario secondary school students and a 14% increase from all other applicants to our first year program — we also have coincidentally a dramatic increase in our students’ need for financial assistance. The Student Assistance Challenge will add immeasurably to the financial support of our students and that’s something of which we can all be proud.”

OCAD students have the opportunity to learn in what is best understood as a creative “hothouse,” a one-of-a-kind environment dedicated exclusively to visual culture. Innovation and creative work is further inspired by a vibrant community life, situated in a new, dynamic campus facility. The critically-acclaimed $42.5 million expansion and redevelopment, featuring the Sharp Centre for Design at 100 McCaul Street as well as, most recently, the acquisition of 205 Richmond Street West, is a catalyst for creative risk-taking and new collaborations.

In the past four years OCAD has moved forward in achieving its ongoing strategic goals: building an even stronger studio-based university learning environment with excellence in disciplinary and new cross-disciplinary offerings; launching dynamic graduate programs; greatly enhancing research practices and profile; building strong community, institutional and corporate alliances; creating a greater understanding of art, design, creative industries and digital media at the policy level and strengthening its capital base, including physical facilities.

Join us in putting OCAD Students First!
To make a donation to the Student Assistance Challenge please contact:

Adria Miller, Manager, Individual Giving & Alumni Relations
416-977-6000 Ext. 485

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information and images please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

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