Post-secondary schools brace for potential cuts in Alberta budget
CALGARY – The United Conservative Party government is tabling its first budget Thursday afternoon and one area that could potentially see funding cuts is post-secondary education.
In an address to Albertans the night before releasing the budget, Premier Jason Kenney used funding for the institutions as an example where he said the province is spending a significant amount of money but not getting the best outcomes.
"Alberta overspending is not getting better results. We’re not getting better health and education for spending more and in fact, we get worse outcomes than these (Ontario, BC and Quebec) other provinces," he said.
Kenney said the province spends about $10,000 more per student a year compared to other provinces but sees some of the lowest post-secondary participation and completion rates in the country.
The premier referenced the MacKinnon report on Alberta’s finances saying Alberta spends $36,510 per capita while the large province average is $26,200.
Kenney didn’t talk numbers or specifics on cuts Wednesday but the MacKinnon report suggests a funding model for post-secondary institutions that includes less reliance on government grants and more funding from tuition and other revenue sources. It also recommends lifting a freeze on tuition fees in the province.
The provincial budget will be unveiled Thursday afternoon and the University of Calgary’s president is expected to weigh in shortly after to discuss what the budget means for post-secondary students in Alberta.