Alberta post-secondary students will have more money in their pockets as classes begin this month and a two-year tuition and fees freeze takes effect.
Innovation and Advanced Education Minister Lori Sigurdson greeted students on their way to classes at Mount Royal University today and discussed the tuition freeze and rollbacks on market modifiers with them.
An estimated quarter-million full and part-time students and apprentices are returning to 26 institutions across Campus Alberta. They will directly benefit from a $133 million funding increase commitment that is bringing stability to this crucial sector.
“Stabilizing government’s investment in post-secondary education means educators can focus on delivering some of Canada’s best education and training. Higher education is vital to our future prosperity and ensuring that it remains affordable and accessible for families is one way our government is investing in Albertans.”
~ Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education
In addition to a freeze on tuition, government re-invested funding that had been previously cut. These extra dollars will help to ensure all institutions freeze the cost of mandatory non-instructional fees.
“Alberta’s university students are pleased with the decision to freeze tuition for the next two years as it will help prevent post-secondary education from becoming unaffordable and out of reach for Albertans. During the freeze, students are looking forward to collaborating directly in the planning of the long-term funding framework for post-secondary education, and to ensuring that the principles of affordability and predictability continue to guide future considerations for the tuition and fees we pay.”
~ Romy Garrido, Chair, Council of Alberta University Students
“I can tell you that even a temporary tuition freeze is a welcome relief for post-secondary students and their families. It’s a good first step after years of increases and ever-growing student debt. Every penny counts. Students are pleased that the government is considering students’ needs and that they’re consulting us. We look forward to working with the government to ensure the provincial operating grants and tuition structure is and equitable and best serves students across the province.”
~ Erik Queenan, President, Students’ Association of Mount Royal University
These freezes will last for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years as government begins the process of reviewing the overall funding model for Campus Alberta. This review will begin later in the fall.
Tuition increases in 25 specific programs, previous approved under the market modifier provision, have also been rolled back and cancelled.
Facts on Student Aid
Alberta students who need help paying for their education can still apply for financial assistance. Student Aid Alberta accepts applications at any point during the school year up to 30 days before the end of class.
In addition to the funding provided to student loan borrowers, the Alberta government provided $73.5 million in scholarships and awards to 38,961 post-secondary students in 2014-15. This funding was disbursed through more than 60 different scholarship and award programs, including the Alexander Rutherford Scholarship.
Average student loan size:
In 2014-15, the average Alberta post-secondary student loan borrower received approximately $12,500 in combined Canada and Alberta student loans and grants. Students receive a combination of Alberta and Canada loans and grants by applying to Student Aid Alberta on a single application.
Average student debt after graduation:
The average debt owed to government at the time of graduation for the Class of 2011-12 was $20,100.
Amount of loans given out each year:
In the 2014-15 school year, a total of 62,725 Alberta post-secondary student loan borrowers received a combination of Alberta and Canada student loans and grants:
- Total Alberta student loans = $395.7 million
- Total Alberta grants to student loan borrowers = $65.1 million
- Total Canada student loans = $284 million
- Total Canada student grants = $75.3 million.