CALGARY -- Alberta's colleges and universities will soon receive provincial funding based on the achievement of predetermined targets.

Beginning April 1, funding for post-secondary institutions will be linked to performance-based outcomes.

"This new model is designed to help our students succeed," said Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides. "This model will be non-competitive. Institutions will not compete against each other for taxpayer dollars. They will compete against themselves."

Individual targets — and the weighting of the targets — will be determined for each of the province's post-secondary institutions following consultation with students, teachers and administration.  According to Nicolaides, the indicators may include:

  • Graduation and completion rates
  • Post-graduate employment
  • Experiential learning
  • Enrolment
  • Quality of teaching
  • Student satisfaction

A post-secondary institution that achieves all of its targets will receive full funding while institutions that do not reach their goals will have their funding prorated to reflect the percentage of its targets that were met.

Tim Rahilly, PhD, president and vice-chancellor of Mount Royal University, welcomed the change.

"We're on the same page as government, supporting students to become work-ready graduates and creating innovative programs that foresee the future labour force, all while constantly improving our services and being efficient," said Rahilly in a statement to CTV. "Today’s announcement is appreciated because it gives us greater clarity, enables a transition period, and allows us to provide input on the metrics used."

Ed McCauley, University of Calgary president and vice-chancellor, issued the following statement in response to the province's funding announcement.

The University of Calgary welcomes the introduction of an outcome-based funding model. We have been a data driven organization for over a decade – and welcome the opportunity to be part of this change.

We track and publish on an annual basis a set of 35 performance measures in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and community and the environment. These performance measures are directly tied to our Eyes High Strategy and our Academic and Research plans and offer direct comparisons with other leading universities. Several of our performance measures directly align with the areas that the Government of Alberta has indicated will be part of the outcomes-based funding framework and are areas where the University of Calgary excels. For example, our students have a 94.1 per cent graduate employment rate within a year of graduating from our university. Similarly, we have increased our research income by 50 per cent since 2014 for a total of $487.8 million in 2019.

We welcome a long term stable, predictable funding model and a streamlined reporting process that reduces red tape. We look forward to working with the Government of Alberta in establishing a funding model that supports our mandate as a research intensive university under the Post-Secondary Learning Act in Alberta.

In addition to the change to the funding structure, Nicolaides announced the province will scrap its annual reviews with each institution in favour of the creation of three-year investment management agreements with the schools. The move is expected to improve long-term funding predictability and prevent institutions from changing course on an annual basis.