Empirical data shows Ontario university graduates have the best labour market outcomes, and have experienced the highest employment growth of any educational attainment group over the last ten years (University Works 2014). A recent report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) found that in times of economic recession, university graduates have fared significantly better, showing that university skills and credentials are giving graduates a strong advantage when starting a career.
The value of a university degree does not end with its economic benefits. In a study of the social returns of higher education, HEQCO found that postsecondary graduates are more likely to volunteer, donate money and vote, and are less likely to require social assistance. University graduates are also more likely to rate their physical and mental health higher than those with fewer years of education, and are less likely to smoke.
Universities add value to local communities, as faculty and students work closely with local organizations to tackle issues such as violence, bullying and mental illness. Through community-based research, socially conscious programs, and work-integrated learning programs, students cultivate strong relationships with local organizations that support at-risk groups, improve health outcomes of community members, and contribute to charitable and advocacy efforts across the globe.