Students in the Greater Toronto Area now have a new option to fast-track completion of their undergraduate degrees as part of the This Summer, Choose York initiative launched by York University.
Starting with the summer semester, York University will offer more than 1,000 courses from various Faculties, including Fine Arts, Health, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Science & Engineering. The summer program includes general education and advanced level credit courses in all years of study. The courses will be made available during the day, late afternoon and evening timeslots at the Keele and Glendon campuses.
The program is available to current York undergraduate students, undergraduate students from other Ontario universities (who have a letter of permission from their home university), and college and university students who want to transfer to York University.
Taking university courses during the summer has many logistical and financial advantages for students and the University, says York’s Vice-President Academic & Provost Patrick Monahan. In addition to fast-tracking their degree, students have the option of leveraging the Ontario government’s new undergraduate tuition grant of up to 30 per cent off postsecondary tuition (or up to $800 per semester).
“The grant works on a per semester basis and was introduced in January 2012 by the provincial government,” says Monahan. “The only way that students can access a second semester of the grant for the 2011-2012 academic year is to take courses in the summer. Students will have to take a minimum of three half courses and if they qualify, the Ontario government will provide them with an $800 tuition grant, which covers about half the cost of the three courses.”
By not taking summer courses, students would lose the benefit, says Monahan, because September brings the start of a new academic year. (They would have an opportunity to receive the grant for the 2012-2013 fall and winter semesters.)
For the University, there is the advantage that a summer program provides better and more efficient use of its campus facilities. “Billions of dollars are invested in Ontario universities in the summer and many are underutilized,” says Monahan. “From a taxpayer and government point of view, it makes more sense to promote utilization of universities year round.”
As well, many students juggle part-time jobs or other commitments that can limit their ability to take a full course load. For some students, it may mean an extra year of study and the accompanying expense. Other students may want to fast-track their degree or take additional courses to augment their applications to professional or graduate schools. For students wanting to transfer from their college or university to York University, the summer program provides them with an opportunity to get those important transfer requirements locked down.
The summer course option is being supported by a six-week, comprehensive campaign developed by the University’s Marketing & Communications Department in partnership with the Recruitment team.
“The awareness campaign for This Summer, Choose York includes both print and online advertisements placed in publications predominantly in the GTA,” says Susan Webb, executive director, communications & public affairs. “The campaign reflects the beauty of the Keele and Glendon campuses in the summer and has a video component that features York students talking about why they chose to come to the University.”
In addition to the print and online advertising in the GTA, inserts will be placed in 13 college and university newspapers in key catchment areas and web banner advertisements will be rolled out on Facebook and other sites popular with students. The advertising program builds on an earlier Choose York campaign that targeted mature and part-time students.
“On Monday, many in the University community will have noticed a link to This Summer, Choose York that appeared on the York homepage,” says Webb. “Students following the link will be presented with all the information they need to make the most of their summer studies.”
A link to the summer program appeared Monday on the York homepage
“It seemed to us that rather than just passively wait for students to come, we should go out and promote this option,” says Monahan. “So we are inviting York students and those from other colleges and universities, who are returning home to the Greater Toronto Area this summer to work, to take some additional courses to advance their degrees or earn an academic credit.”
Visit the This Summer, Choose York website for more information about deadlines, how to submit an application or transfer to York University and the courses that will be offered.
By Jenny Pitt-Clark, YFile editor