Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Alberta Government to give $16 Million for education

Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Alberta Government to give $16 Million for education

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for Taking Notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org

Alberta Government to give $16 Million for education

Sounds like a great headline, right? Wrong! Instead of an infusion of cash into our universities, money that could improve the current operating deficits and infrastructure needs of our universities in Alberta, money that could make it possible for students to attend university and replace the PhD brain drain, this money is earmarked for Centennial babies. Every baby born in Alberta’s centennial year, 2005, will have $500 deposited in a registered education savings plan. The initial donation will be then topped-up by two further government contributions of up to $100, matched to parental contributions.

Not only is this plan seriously flawed, since RESP’s favour the rich who can afford to save, the amounts donated are of little or no value to these children. The government is predicting that with “cautious” investing and “no other contributions” the amount will grow to a whopping $1500 by the time the child turns 18.

The average cost of post-secondary education in Alberta has risen 208% since 1991 (ACTISEC, 2002). Across Canada, tuition has more than doubled in the past 10 years (Statscan, 1991). Since the cost of post-secondary education in Alberta continues to increase by tuition hikes of at least 5-8% every year, and if the tuition trend of doubling every 10 years continues; it seems likely that by 2023, tuition will be somewhere in the vicinity of at least $20,000 a year. And this is just base tuition for an Arts degree – with differential tuition in place, programs such as medicine, dentistry and business will be significantly higher.

I’m confident those centennial babies will find that $1500 RESP to be extremely helpful in helping pay for their university education when they turn 18. Or perhaps not.


Edmonton Journal: February 16/04. Tories to give $16M for centennial babies’ education
ACTISEC, 2002. Alberta College & Technical Institute Student Executive Council. Policy Statement: Differential Tuition Policy. http://www.actisec.ca/differentialpolicy.pdf
StatsCan, 2001. The Daily. University tuition fees: http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/010827/d010827b.htm