Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel announced how an Alberta Party government would improve the affordability and accessibility of post-secondary education in Alberta, including the creation of 45,000 new spaces and retaining a cap on tuition.
“The NDP has put our future at risk. There is no predictability and no plan for post secondary students. Alberta’s young people represent a new generation of thinkers, builders and leaders. We’re going to make sure they have affordable access to post-secondary education, so they can chase their dreams and help build the next Alberta.” - Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel
An Alberta Party government will make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible for Albertans:
Expanding Post-Secondary Spaces Across Alberta
- An Alberta Party government will create 45,000 new spaces in post-secondary institutions by 2024. This includes universities, colleges and technical institutes.
- It is estimated by 2026, there will be a 15% increase in the number of Albertans graduating from high school. This growth would require an estimated 40,265 spaces.
- The new spaces will be developed in consultation with post-secondary institutions based in Alberta, and those seeking to expand in Alberta.
- Consideration will be given to satellite campuses in underserved parts of the province, for example building a satellite campus in North East Calgary.
- Non-traditional locations will be examined and considered for facilitating the new spaces.
- Of these spaces, 3,000 will be dedicated to Indigenous-led programs.
- New spaces will involve the establishment of learning centers available to adult learners, those who did not complete high school, or those who are upgrading.
Predictable, Affordable Tuition
- An Alberta Party government will retain the current cap on tuition at Alberta post-secondary institutions, providing certainty and affordability for families.
- We will provide predictable multi-year funding to post-secondary institutions.
- An Alberta Party government will eliminate tuition fees for high school upgrading and English Language Learning programs, so every Albertan can acquire necessary skills.
- We will work with post-secondary stakeholders to determine an optimal ratio for financial aid between targeted upfront grants and tax credits.
- An Alberta Party government will be open and transparent with the recent Tuition Review.
Expanding Employment Opportunities for Post-Secondary Students
- An Alberta Party government will expand the STEP program so more young people can access employment opportunities and gain work experience.
- The STEP program will be expanded to a year-round program.
- The program will also be expanded to include people who have recently graduated from a post-secondary program (i.e., within the past 12 months). This will help new graduates join the workforce and secure employment experience soon after graduation.
Bringing in a “creator-owned” model for Intellectual Property
- An Alberta Party Government will work with post-secondary institutions to make it easier for innovators to spin-off their discoveries into new companies.
- Ideas from our research institutions need to be easily turned into new products and companies. Alberta is lacking in this regard, partly due to how post-secondary institutions currently treat intellectual property from researchers and innovators.
- University Technology Transfer Offices need to move away from patent collection and short-term cost recovery and towards lowering barriers for industry participation with a “creator-owned” model similar to the University of Waterloo.
- The “creator-owned” model is an entrepreneurial-oriented intellectual property policy that grants ownership to the inventor. Ownership is the best motivator to commercialize, and will attract entrepreneurial faculty and students.
- By significantly increasing commercialization and entrepreneurial activity, the “creator-owned” model will help drive job growth and diversify Alberta’s economy.
Work in Alberta Program
- An Alberta Party government will establish a program to encourage Alberta post-secondary graduates to use their education and skills in Alberta.
- The program will offer forgiveness of provincial student loans for post-secondary graduates who, after graduation, remain and work in Alberta for a certain amount of time in their area of study.
- Additional forgiveness will available for those who choose to work in rural and remote areas of the province where particular skills are in short supply.
- Each year, Alberta taxpayers subsidize the costs of educating post-secondary students. This makes sense, since our economy and society benefit from having a skilled workforce.
- The Work in Alberta program will help retain skilled talent in the province, enabling Albertans to benefit from the investments that have been made in the post-secondary education system.