Families feel Laurentian University should pay compensation for cancelled programs
TORONTO -- Laurentian University in Sudbury is in the midst of a financial crisis and has slashed programs, laid off staff and told some students they have to leave.
Some families feel the school has failed students and that they should be compensated for lost scholarships, housing costs and other expenses.
“I'm in a four-year actuarial science program in the second year. They completely cut it and advised me to transfer schools" said Peter Parsons, from New Lowell, east of Barrie.
The school cut 39 per cent of its programs and told students like Parsons he had to leave.
The announcement came as a shock to the Parsons family as Peter’s mother Tracy said her son lost scholarships and had already signed leases for housing for the year ahead.
Along with other expenses she feels they will lose close to $7,000 plus the added costs to apply and move to another university.
“It was a complete blow you know. I felt like we had entered a contract with the university and it was broken,” Tracy Parsons said. “They have provided him with nothing except here is a university you can go to and sorry for your luck."
Laurentian University is under creditor protection after declaring insolvency on February 1 and reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid debts.
Parsons will have to try and find another university offering a similar program and may have to retake courses. He says he originally choose Laurentian because he felt on graduation his job prospects would be good.
“But now that I can't finish my degree at that school that’s (facing financial problems) that's not great for an employer to see," he said.
Ontario's Auditor General has been asked to investigate how Laurentian could be facing such severe financial problems.
Nickel Belt NDP MPP France Gelinas said last week "we will have a report done by the auditor general that shows what happened to the money."
CTV News reached out to the communications department at Laurentian University for a comment, but the school did not respond to our requests.
The Parsons did receive a letter from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities that said “We understand that students were notified about program changes at Laurentian on April 12, 2021, and the university has indicated that it has mapped a path forward for students in any impacted programs.”
“I'm devastated for my son because his plans have been turned upside down,” Parsons said. “We would have thought when signing a lease you would not be able to finish your degree at the university. It's unheard of and this shouldn't be happening in Canada."
Despite issues at the university, Laurentian is returning to in class learning this September, but the financial problems could make students and staff nervous about what the future holds for the school.