by Morinville News Staff
The province announced Wednesday it would extend the tuition freeze for the 2-17-2018 academic year, allowing the government to work with stakeholders to review the tuition and fee model in Alberta.
The province estimates 250,000 full- and part-time students and apprentices will save approximately $16 million a year though the freeze on tuition and fees.
“We know that access to high-quality education and training is the cornerstone of lifelong success in a changing economy,” Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education. “Our students and post-secondary stakeholders are in the best position to help shape what Alberta needs for the future. This review will ensure a long-term solution to keep education accessible and affordable for Albertans.”
The province believes the tuition review will help set future direction on how to increase post-secondary costs fairly while also providing students with predictability so they can plan for their education.
Dexter Bruneau, chair, Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) was pleased with Wednesday’s announcement.
“CAUS is encouraged to see tuition frozen for another year while consultation on changes to the post-secondary system is carried out,” he said. “Students’ thoughts and opinions are sure to add important insight into the ways our system can best be changed and improved to ensure a bright future for all Albertans.”
The Wildrose was less optimistic about the announcement. Wildrose Shadow Innovation and Advanced Education Minister Wes Taylor said the NDP was once again taking a short-sighted approach to an issue that needs a long-term, fiscally-sustainable solution. “Wildrose maintains that indexing postsecondary tuition and fee increases to the rate of inflation is the very best way to ensure tuition remains affordable for students and to protect the viability of Alberta’s world-class education institutions.”
Taylor said his party is concerned the freeze could end up costing students more as institutions look to make up their shortfalls once the freeze is lifted.
Students, stakeholders, and other Albertans can participate in the consultation by visiting tuitionreview.alberta.ca to share their thoughts and ideas.