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DAVID A.A. STAGER Federal Government Grants toCanadianUniversities, 1951-66 THE LENGTHY DEBATE leadingto federalaid for technicaleducationand to a turningpointin federal-provincial relations in Canadianeducation was presented in a recent number ofthisjournal. xConcluding comments in the articlesuggested that the debateof •899 to •9•9 wasto be repeated in the I95OSand •96osin the controversy surrounding Ottawa'sfinancialassistanceto universities. The purpose of thispaperis to showhow the introductionof federalaid to universkies is remarkablefor the several waysin whichit differed fromthedebate preceding theTechnical Education Actof •9•9 and from the currentnegotiations on the educationsection of the Federal-Provincial FiscalArrangements Act. Federalgrantsto universities wereintroduced in •95• followingalmost no consultation with theprovinces andwith little expressed concern about the provinces' constitutional responsibility for education. Publicdiscussion of thequestion wasconfined to favourable newspaper editorials whichappearedin the wakeof a cross-country tour by university presidents and deans.This campaign,togetherwith intensivelobbyingof the federal cabinetby the National Conference of CanadianUniversities [•cctJ], a supporting recommendation in the MasseyCommission Report,and previousfederalaid to universities underthe veterans assistance programme constitute an explanation for thefederaloperating grants programme. In •95• theAppropriation Actincluded Vote69owhichprovided $7.I The authorisgratefulto HowardFluxgoldfor research assistance andto the Councilof Ministersof EducationandtheFord Foundation grantfor the Studyof EfficientAllocationof Resources in Higher Educationfor financialassistance. • RobertM. Stamp,'TechnicalEducation, theNationalPolicy,andFederalProvincialRelations in CanadianEducation,•899-•9•9,' CanadianHistorical Review,•.n,4, Dec. •97x, pp. 4o4-a3 Vol. •.n,No 3 September •973 288 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW millionfor federalgrants to bepaiddirectly to theuniversities. Thesewere tobedistributed provincially onthebasis of$.5øpercapita oftheprovincial populations; theprovincial allotments wouldthenbedistributed among the universities withina province ona perstudent basis. Whilethedirectantecedent of thisprogramme wastheveterans assistance programme of x9455x , theorigins of thefederaloperating grants lie partlyin events preceding x945. Advocates of federalaid to universities occasionally citedasprecedents the foundingof the Royal Military Collegeby the federalgovernment in •874, a grant of •5o,oooacresof land to the Universityof Manitoba in •885, universityresearchgrantsadministered by the National Research Council,andthesmallgrants madedirectlyto veterinary colleges underthe AgriculturalInstruction Act of •9•3. Eachof these,however, represented specialcases; the cogency of the arguments for a generalprogramme of federalaidrested largelyontheadverse effects of theDepression onuniversityrevenues . The Depression yearshad beenat leastas financially difficultfor the universities astheyhad beenfor otherinstitutions and individuals. Endowmentincomes hadprovidedan average of • o percentof operating expendituresin thelate x9•os , but declining personal andcorporate incomes in the x93ossharplyreducedprivategiftsand bequests and diminished provincial government grants.The universities responded by increasing tuitionfees. Queen'sUniversityvice-principal W.E. McNeill observed in x939 that 'thirtyyears agoa student paidabout•o percentof therelatively lowcost of his education;todayhe is payingfrom 4ø per centto 5ø per centof muchhighercosts?Fear wasexpressed that the increasi.ng costs would preventlow-incomefamiliesfrom sendingtheir childrento university. Numerous requests arising across thecountry forprovincial, andmoreoften, federal assistance to students and the universities found an audience in the Royal (Rowell-Sirois) Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations appointedin x939The Report of the Rowell-Sirois Commission acknowledged that the commission had received manybriefsseeking federalfinancialaid to education .While the commission wassympathetic to the briefs,it recognized that these requests arose largelyfroma concern thatprovincial governments had beenforcedto reducetheir educational expenditures duringthe Depression . The commission thoughtthe briefswent 'too far in denyingthe rightof eachprovince to decide therelativeimportance of expenditure on education' and that means should be foundwhereby eachprovince could 2 W.E. McNeill,'TheIncreasing CostofEducation,' inProceedings o[theNational Con[erence o[ CanadianUniversities (Ottawa •939), P-3• FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GRANTS TO CANADIAN UNIVERSITIES 289 meetitsobligations to education ratherthanthefederalgovernment making ear-marked grantsto the provinces for education. a Nevertheless, the commission cautiously app•:oved federal aidtouniversities ontheargument that 'efficient functioning' of universities in all provinces wasessential to regional 'equalityof influence in thenationallife.' It wassuggested that 'a relatively smallDominionannualgrantdividedamongthe provinces in roughproportionto theirpopulation for thebenefitof [university] institutions which receivehelp from the statemight play a particularlyusefulpart in our national life. '4Perhaps because these funds wouldbepaidto theprovinces ratherthan directlyto the universities, the universities apparentlydid not respond to thisrecommendation. Moreover,the university presidents were preoccupied with obtaining thefederalaidthatwouldberequired specificallyto assist veterans returningtouniversities. The projected veteranenrolment of 35,00oto 4o,ooopersons would approximately double the I939 enrolment in Canadian universities. 5 Since studentfeescovered about4o per centof operating costs, a doublingof enrolmentwouldlead to a sharpincrease in the costs which couldnot be recovered through fees. An order-in-council (lm 7633) in •94• hadprovided for extensive educationalbenefitsfor veterans,includinga maintenance allowance andpayment of tuitionfees,but no additional aidwasprovided to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 287-297
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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