To:

Rosanne Runte, President and Duncan Watt, Vice-President Finance

Office of the President
503 Tory Building
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6

Dear President Runte and Vice President Watt,

On behalf of the National Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students, I wish to express concerns regarding an impending change to funding for Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) recipients at Carleton University. The Carleton administration recently indicated that the university could no longer afford its $5,000 contribution to the $15,000 OGS, since graduate students at Carleton have been awarded a higher number of scholarships than previous years. In response to this unexpected good news, the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs unilaterally decided that departmental scholarships previously promised to students would make up at least part of the $5000 university contribution, effectively decreasing the OGS award to as low as $10,000.

This amounts to a claw back of funding, a practice that Carleton University historically refused to do. Graduate students believed that this scholarship would be awarded in addition to existing funding, as per past practice.

Graduate student funding is directly linked to retention rates and completion times. The withdrawal of promised funds from students who have received an OGS places an undue burden on graduate students, many of whom are already struggling to pay their bills, including those with dependents, extra medical expenses, or living with disabilities. The OGS is the main provincial funding program for graduate students in Ontario, and becomes increasingly important in the face of rising tuition fees and high competition for fewer tri-council awards.

The awarding of OGS to such a high number of Carleton University students should be a mark of pride for the university, as it benefits Carleton’s reputation as a top destination for graduate students. A decision to claw back funding will have a negative impact on Carleton’s academic reputation and on future recruitment.

I encourage the Carleton University administration to reconsider their plans to claw back funding from OGS or other external award recipients. In addition, I encourage the administration to develop a consultative and transparent process for graduate funding strategies, which will allow graduate students to budget responsibly for their education.

Sincerely,

Carolyn Hibbs
Chair, National Graduate Caucus
Canadian Federation of Students

CC:

Dr. John Shepherd, Associate Provost
Dr. Wallace Clement, Chancellor’s Professor
Dr. Langis Roy, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs
Dr. André Loiselle, Associate Dean,