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Number of St. Lawrence College dropouts up for debate as deadline passes

Click to play video: 'Final Day for College Students to decide on Semester' Final Day for College Students to decide on Semester
Last day for college students to drop out of their courses and receive a full tuition refund – Dec 5, 2017

Tuesday was the last day for students to drop out of their college courses and receive a full tuition refund.

Students were given the choice following the recent five-week-long strike by Ontario College faculty. With instructors ordered back to work by the province and the contract dispute sent to binding arbitration this was “deadline day” for students.

St. Lawrence College President and CEO Glenn Vollebregt said the number of dropouts on the campuses in Kingston, Brockville and Cornwall isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

READ MORE: Ontario college strike: OPSEU promises to challenge back-to-work legislation

“Last year at this time from the start of the school year to the second semester we lost about 400 students, just over six per cent,” said Vollebregt. “And this year we’re seeing similar type numbers as of now in terms of attrition very, very similar.”

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Grant Currie, who walked the line for those five weeks and is the faculty union president, disagrees and has his own numbers.

“Withdrawals are typically done in the first four weeks of school,” he said. I’ve heard from one faculty where we had 20 per cent, 25 per cent withdrawal from one program. So I would say it’s not a normal situation and we are seeing more than usual withdrawal.”

Many students who are staying in class told us they’re encouraged faculty is helping them make up for lost time.

In order to salvage the semester, Christmas break has been reduced, there will be no reading week, and the semester will be extended by a couple of weeks.

READ MORE: 1,500 Fanshawe College students dropout following five-week faculty strike

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