Bill 1 Exceeds Student Expectations

Edmonton, AB – Yesterday’s introduction of Bill 1 by the Government of Alberta established a $3 billion post-secondary education endowment, an amount that surpassed students’ expectations. In August 2004, the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) presented the idea of establishing a $1 billion endowment to the government. The extent of the government’s commitment to post-secondary education, both in Bill 1 and in yesterday’s Speech from the Throne, was very well received.

“This is fantastic news,” said CAUS Executive Director Duncan Wojtaszek. “Naturally the devil is in the details, and much of those details are being worked out with government, students and stakeholders, but this is a great step towards making Alberta’s post secondary system absolutely world-class.”

In addition to establishing the Access to the Future Fund, the Access to the Future Act will increase the amounts endowed in the Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund and the Alberta Ingenuity Fund, representing an investment in Alberta’s future of $4.5 billion and commits the government, in law, to some ambitious goals aimed at making Alberta’s universities and colleges affordable, accessible and of the highest quality. Students have also been heard with the government’s commitment to including students on the Access Advisory Council which will advise on the use of the fund to government.

“With the commitments made by the government to higher education, we have seen some important pieces of puzzle being put in place,” added Wojtaszek. “The missing pieces are a new affordability policy expected by September 2006 and an increase in base operating funding.”

The Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS) represents the interests of over 80,000 Alberta university students across Alberta. AUSU is a member of CAUS.