This paper exploits longitudinal tax-filer data to provide new empirical evidence for Ontario on i)
overall PSE participation rates on an annual basis over the last decade, ii) how access is related to a number of important individual and family characteristics, including sex, family income, area size of residence and family type, andiii) how these relationships have changed over time. This is done for Ontario as a whole, in comparison to the rest of Canada, and then broken down by region within Ontario. The findings are informative, in some cases surprising, and highly relevant to public policy regarding access to postsecondary education.
The findings are many, and there is room to mention only a few of the most important ones here. Our focus here was on access to university – although we do present results for college attendance as well. We do this for two main reasons. The first is that the PSE-related tax credit information available in the Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD) dataset which we employ to identify participation in PSE do not do as good a job of finding college students, simply because the credits available are not generally worth as much to college students as they are to university students. Secondly, the effects of individual and family background characteristics on PSE ttendance – a principal focus of our study – tend to come out much more strongly in
(net) effects on college attendance are more unambiguous and are almost always found to be much smaller from an empirical perspective.