Alberta government approves tuition increases at post-secondary institutions

The provincial government has approved tuition increases for 25 programs at post-secondary institutions in Alberta that student groups say break a promise to students.

In a news release on Monday, the government said the hikes will bring in $21 million for Campus Alberta and the increases only apply to new enrollment and not current students.

“These tuition increases allow institutions to enhance quality and make these specific programs more responsive to student needs. Our goal is to have the best post-secondary education in the country,” said Advanced Education Minister Don Scott in a statement.

At the University of Alberta, five programs will face tuition increases including a 42 per cent increase to the Business Administration program which will go up from $24,439.20 to $34,712.24 per year.

The Council for Alberta University Students (CAUS), which represents over 100,000 undergraduate students at post-secondary institutions across the province, said the modifiers break a promise from the PCs not to increase tuition past the rate of inflation and a promise from 2010 when they said the last round of modifiers were a “one-time only adjustment.”

“This was the wrong promise to backtrack on (and) it’s going to hurt accessibility in a province where we already have the lowest participation rate in post-secondary,” said Navneet Khinda, CAUS chair and VP External at the University of Alberta Students’ Union.

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley said the increases will discourage young people from applying to post-secondary programs and Liberal Leader Raj Sherman said the PCs “essentially told these institutions that they can massively increase the cost of education, as long as it is not called ‘tuition.'”

The government says that tuition in Alberta increased by one per cent in 2014-15, representing the second-lowest increase in all of Canada. A full list of the programs facing increases is available online at: http://alberta.ca/announcements.cfm

matthew.dykstra@sunmedia.ca

@SunMattDykstra

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