Tuition changes will improve quality and competitiveness for 25 post-secondary programs
Yesterday I released my decision to accept tuition increases under the market modifier process in 25 programs across the Campus Alberta system. This was the result of careful deliberation and an extensive review of 26 applications from 10 institutions. It is my belief that these changes will improve the quality of the educational experience for learners in these programs and also help our post-secondary institutions to compete on a more level playing field.
Market modifiers are meant to correct market anomalies in the price of specific programs in Alberta when compared to programs at other institutions in Alberta and across Canada. During our review of tuition and fees with institutions and student stakeholders, we heard that tuition for some programs may not be set at appropriate levels and that limited adjustments to tuition should be considered. There are some programs in our system where costs have outpaced an institution’s ability to generate sufficient revenue, making those programs unsustainable.
How many students will be impacted by these changes
The 25 programs approved for tuition increases represent less than one per cent of the 2,950 programs available across Campus Alberta. When fully implemented, approximately eight per cent of students will be impacted by the approved market modifiers. Students currently enrolled in the affected programs will not see their tuition change.
A sustainable, accessible, high-quality post-secondary education system
A student’s post-secondary education is a shared investment between taxpayers, students, and Campus Alberta institutions. We must strike the right balance between the needs of all three.
Although there are many educational opportunities across Campus Alberta, consider the investment of an undergraduate degree. It costs approximately $20,000 per year on average for an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in Alberta. Of that amount, a student pays approximately 28 per cent–or $5,300 per year. The remaining cost is the responsibility of taxpayers and institutions. The Alberta government covers most of the cost, around 60-65 per cent. An average Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alberta, for example, costs almost $30,000 per year. Of that, a student pays approximately 18 per cent of the cost—or $5,300.
This shared cost is often forgotten in discussions about tuition. Post-secondary education is a shared cost between taxpayers and students and we have to get that balance right.
To ensure program accessibility, the Alberta government provides one of the most generous Student Aid programs in the country for students to help them meet their educational goals. Our institutions must also have the ability to generate sufficient revenue to offer sustainable, high-quality programs that allow our graduates to succeed and compete nationally and internationally.
Ensuring we have the best post-secondary system in Canada
We know that post-secondary education plays a vital role in maintaining the prosperity of our province. We need a skilled, highly trained workforce to compete in a global marketplace. We also recognize that our post-secondary system faces increasing cost pressures and institutions need to be able to generate additional revenue to remain competitive.
Increasing revenue through tuition allows institutions to enhance programs and make them more responsive to student needs. For example, these accepted market modifiers will provide the 25 approved programs with an estimated combined annual revenue of $21.5 million to improve and sustain program quality.
At the end of the day our goal has to be to have the best post-secondary education system in Canada.
Minister Don Scott