Taking Notes: Eye on Education – Alberta Students May See Tuition Freeze

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 STUDENTS MAY SEE TUITION FREEZE

Alberta students may be looking forward to some tuition relief, in the form of a freeze. With Premier Ralph Klein entering his final election term, he has promised that he will be leaving a legacy of improvements to post secondary education. The government has announced that the next sitting of the legislature will feature “Bill 1,” focused on expansion of post secondary education and controlling student costs.

The newly-appointed Advanced Education Minister, David Hancock, is working on a comprehensive plan that will “find a way to expand the capacity of existing universities and colleges while controlling costs to students.” Klein refers to this initiative as an “investment in human infrastructure,” equally as important as spending on roads or hospitals.

The official Liberal opposition, under leader Kevin Taft, has noted that this plan appears very similar to that touted by the Liberals in their recent election platform, with promises to press for improvements to educational quality, cost reduction to students, and increased access. Taft, however, is willing to support the Premier’s plan, stating that “we’re (all) in this business to make Alberta a better place.”

Consultations with Alberta’s university and college presidents are underway, and reports are very positive and promising thus far. One of the options being actively considered will give Calgary a second university by converting Mount Royal College into a full-fledged undergraduate university. A tuition freeze would be a welcome move, one that would finally place Alberta in line with many other Canadian promises.

Province considers tuition freeze: Klein promises post-secondary fix. James Baxter & Tom Barrett, Edmonton Journal, December 17, 2004.

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