Nearly 50 years ago, students who wanted to pursue their studies on a part-time basis could do so only in a very restricted way. The Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students (APUS) was formed in 1968 by part-time students who wanted to improve this situation. As a result of their initiative, part-time students are now an accepted part of the University. More individuals than ever before are studying part-time: last year over 6,000 winter and 14,000 summer students pursued part-time studies in every college and at all three campuses of the University.
This part-time student population is more diverse today than ever before. The “traditional” mature student has now been joined by students of varying ages, all of whom have different reasons for studying part-time. They include recent immigrants attempting to integrate university studies with life in a new country, single and two-parent families balancing employment, study and child care and students with disabilities taking on a new challenge. Many study part-time to maintain and enhance their career prospects. Others study part-time to gain an understanding of the world of culture, art and politics. Given the changes in the Canadian economy since the inception of APUS, part-time study has become the only way for many students to balance university studies with the need to work and raise a family. Perhaps one day, part-time study will be the way the majority of students pursue a degree!
However, it is not easy studying part-time. Students face a constant struggle getting through university. Increased fees, insufficient child and family care, reduced numbers of evening and summer courses, offices that close at 5 p.m. and the lack of student aid are making it more difficult to get a degree part-time. The Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students was formed to address these issues and to protect the interests of a large and growing number of students who study part-time. APUS believes that part-time students must have the same opportunity to pursue a university education as full-time students. APUS works to ensure that part-time students must access to the full range of programs, services and resources offered at the University of Toronto.