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​​​​​​​​ Our Priorities - Access
How can we improve access to higher education for groups that are underrepresented?

Education has the power to transform lives. It can lift individuals from poverty and provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to find fulfilling careers. Ontario is a leader in PSE participation within Canada and abroad. About 68% of Ontarians between the ages of 25 and 34 have a postsecondary credential, the highest of any province in Canada and among the highest of the major industrialized countries.

Yet decades of research has shown that certain groups of students continue to be excluded from postsecondary education and the economic benefits it brings. They include students from low-income families, Indigenous youth, students with disabilities and those whose parents don’t have a postsecondary credential. Research has also taught us that financial aid, though necessary, is not sufficient to ensure the equal participation of these students. Many other deeply ingrained social and cultural variables influence decisions about whether to attend PSE — decisions that are made well before the end of high school. 

Since its early beginnings, HEQCO has undertaken rigorous, evidence-based research on how to improve the participation and success of underrepresented groups in Ontario’s postsecondary system so that we can close the opportunity gap and give all young people equal access to higher education and the economic lift it brings.