College faculty in Ontario head back to their schools today, after a five-week strike was ended over the weekend with back-to-work legislation.

The 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians who had been on strike since Oct. 15 will return to work today to prepare for students' return on Tuesday.

Colleges are extending their semesters so students don't lose their terms, but student advocates say trying to condense five missed weeks into roughly two extra ones will be very stressful.

They are pushing for students who feel they won't be able to complete their semesters to be allowed to withdraw and receive refunds.

The provincial government has ordered the colleges to create a fund using savings from the strike to help students who may be experiencing financial hardship because of the labour dispute.

The Liberal government first tried to introduce and pass the back-to-work legislation in one fell swoop on Thursday night after talks stalled again, but the NDP said due diligence was needed.