2005 News ReleasesFebruary 9, 2005
Alberta to lead the country in post-secondary opportunities
Government to cover tuition increases and reach nation-leading amounts of space
Edmonton... Thousands of new student spaces and coverage of tuition increases this September are highlights of new directions for Alberta's post-secondary system. The announcements were made by Premier Klein in his annual televised address, broadcast on February 8.
A total of 60,000 new post-secondary spaces will be created in Alberta over the next 15 years, which is expected to give Albertans the best access to post-secondary education in Canada. There are currently about 140,000 full-load equivalent post-secondary students in Alberta. Over the next three years, 15,000 student spaces will be added, 30,000 after the next six years, and a total of 60,000 new spaces by 2020. The Alberta government will put in place the funding to support the additional student spaces.
"Post-secondary is a top priority for our government, particularly in the areas of access and affordability, and we're taking immediate action on these fronts," said Advanced Education and Technology Minister Dave Hancock. "Some institutions have already confirmed they're planning to increase tuition this fall, and we're going to pay for those increases. We're also going to start adding additional spaces at universities, colleges, technical institutes, apprenticeship programs, literacy courses, and life-long learning programs. We want to inspire Albertans to learn, and to find the post-secondary opportunities they want here in their home province - whether it's a degree, a diploma, or a trade certificate."
This September the Alberta government will pay any tuition increases at public post-secondary institutions, saving students an estimated $43 million. The government will also conduct a comprehensive review of the affordability of post-secondary education in Alberta. Any changes will be in place by September 2006, and will continue to recognize the shared responsibility that students, parents, institutions, and government have in paying the cost of post-secondary education.
"We need to make sure that cost isn't a barrier for students in post-secondary studies. But tuition is only part of the picture. We must also look at things like student assistance, scholarships, bursaries, and access for Albertans in rural and remote areas," Hancock emphasized.
"Post-secondary education is a major component of Alberta's 20-year strategic plan. Building a knowledge-based culture will secure Alberta's place as a world-class center in academics, trades, and technologies," Hancock said. "The measures announced by the Premier in his televised address are bold first steps in a year that will reaffirm the government's focus on the post-secondary front, and will further demonstrate our commitment to Advanced Education and Technology, our vision for the future, and our intent to transform Alberta into a world-leading learning society in the 21st century."
The Premier's televised address is available for viewing at: www.gov.ab.ca