Building a better budget

Advanced Education to receive billions from 2017 budget

The provincial government released the 2017 budget on Tuesday, March 16, allocating funds to the University of Alberta (U of A) and University of Calgary (U of C) for campus construction projects.

“Every institution will receive [funding],” said Marlin Schmidt, Alberta Minister of Advanced Education.

The money set aside for campus renovations and upgrades in Alberta are part of a capital plan totalling $676 million dollars for “capital maintenance and renewal.”

The U of A has received $59 million this year, with a promise of $149 million overall for upgrades. The U of C has received $8 million, with a commitment of $270 over four years, for renovations to the MacKimmie Complex.

As of now, no official funds from the 2017 budget have been announced to aid SAIT in renovations and up-keep, including the construction currently planned for the Senator Burns and John Ware buildings.

SAIT received $21 million in federal funding for campus upgrading in October 2016.

The funds provided to the capital plan from the 2017 budget are still being allocated; nothing has been set aside for SAIT as of now.

SAIT has no official comment on the budget at this time.

“SAIT is grateful for the Government of Alberta’s continued investment in post-secondary education and commitment to student success,” said David Ross, SAIT President and CEO, in a statement to the media.

“SAIT will continue to be proactive in a fiscally responsible manner and provide career-ready graduates to industry in support of our economy,” said Ross.

Other highlights of the budget include the granting of almost $6 billion in funds to Alberta Advanced Education, $3.6 million towards mental health support, approximately $252 million in student financial assistance and another tuition freeze.

“In a tough economy, it’s important to have a government that is making student lives better,” said Schmidt.

The province will not be providing extra funds to post-secondary institutions that would cover the cost of the current tuition freeze.

The goal of the current budget is to help maintain the affordability of education for students. A tuition review is currently in progress with the goal of generating recommendations on how to sustain the costs of post-secondary for Alberta students.

Advanced Education will be rolling out a new tuition policy starting in the fall 2017 semester, the policy will be officially implemented in the 2018-2019 academic year.

The provincial government has stated that these funds will help maintain their commitment to create funding for post-secondary education that is both predictable and stable.

“I’m pleased with the support the government has been able to provide for students in this challenging economic time,” said Schmidt.

“Our government really wants to support post-secondary education in students, and help students lead better lives.”

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