Post-se­condary ed­u­ca­tion more af­ford­able

The McLeod River Post - - Education Matters -

Al­berta stu­dents will con­tinue to have af­ford­able tu­ition and fees and bet­ter ac­cess to post­sec­ondary op­por­tu­ni­ties thanks to leg­isla­tive amend­ments.

An Act to Im­prove the Af­ford­abil­ity and Ac­ces­si­bil­ity of Post-se­condary Ed­u­ca­tion has passed third read­ing, set­ting the stage for a re­vised tu­ition frame­work and a more ac­ces­si­ble sys­tem.

The amend­ments to the Post-se­condary Learn­ing Act will pro­tect stu­dents from un­fair tu­ition spikes by align­ing in­creases to Al­berta’s Con­sumer Price In­dex, and al­low the min­is­ter to or­der tu­ition freezes to en­sure af­ford­abil­ity for stu­dents. The changes also tie manda­tory non-in­struc­tional fees to the ac­tual cost of the ser­vices, and en­sure they can be frozen to en­sure af­ford­abil­ity.

“Post-se­condary ed­u­ca­tion is one of the best in­vest­ments peo­ple can make in their lives. Ex­tend­ing the tu­ition freeze and im­ple­ment­ing a re­vised tu­ition frame­work makes this in­vest­ment more af­ford­able so ev­ery Al­ber­tan has ac­cess to a good ed­u­ca­tion and, ul­ti­mately, good jobs.”

Mar­lin Sch­midt, Min­is­ter of Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion

For a fifth con­sec­u­tive year, tu­ition and fees will re­main frozen to en­sure more stu­dents can af­ford a univer­sity or college ed­u­ca­tion. Univer­sity stu­dents tak­ing an av­er­age-priced un­der­grad­u­ate pro­gram would save al­most $2,000 on a four-year de­gree. In ad­di­tion to pre­dictabil­ity of tu­ition, stu­dents will have in­creased say in de­ci­sions that af­fect them with the re­quire­ment of writ­ten con­sent for new manda­tory non-in­struc­tional fees.

“Stu­dents across Al­berta have been ask­ing for these changes for a long time and we are happy that our voices and con­cerns have been heard. This is a mile­stone for Al­berta’s post-se­condary sys­tem in creat­ing a frame­work that works for stu­dents.” An­drew Bie­man, chair, Coun­cil of Al­berta Univer­sity Stu­dents “Al­berta stu­dents are happy that Bill 19 passed third read­ing to­day. This bill, that leg­is­lates tu­ition, will en­sure post-se­condary ed­u­ca­tion re­mains af­ford­able for all Al­ber­tans in the years to come. In­vest­ments in ed­u­ca­tion have al­ways had a pos­i­tive re­turn for so­ci­ety.”

Gar­rett Koehler, vi­cepres­i­dent, Ex­ter­nal, SAIT Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion

In ad­di­tion, with the pass­ing of the bill, post-se­condary in­sti­tu­tions across Al­berta will be more col­lab­o­ra­tive and ac­ces­si­ble for stu­dents mov­ing across var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions. This in­cludes en­sur­ing that post-se­condary in­sti­tu­tions can tran­si­tion to uni­ver­si­ties to meet the needs of learn­ers in ev­ery cor­ner of the prov­ince.

Once the bill re­ceives royal as­sent, reg­u­la­tions will be brought for­ward to fur­ther gov­ern manda­tory non­in­struc­tional fees, pro­vide in­creased pre­dictabil­ity for do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, and foster more col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween in­sti­tu­tions and stu­dents.

Changes to the Post­sec­ondary Learn­ing Act will take ef­fect Feb. 1, 2019. The changes are the re­sult of con­sul­ta­tions with stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff. The con­sul­ta­tions in­volved an on­line sur­vey, which re­ceived more than 4,000 re­sponses, and a num­ber of fo­cus groups.

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