CALGARY – Yesterday’s provincial budget amounts to an indirect cut on a post-secondary education system already on life support. Budget 2024 continues a familiar theme with this provincial government: post-secondary education gets defunded and Alberta’s students are asked to foot the bill.
“As students, everything we are doing here at post-secondary is to build a better future. Ideally, our elected officials present a plan that does the same. Sadly, even with the small allotments to student needs, this budget commits to the further decline of Alberta’s once-leading post-secondary education system,” said SU President Shaziah Jinnah Morsette.
“Despite the overwhelming need for funding to increase, any amount that refuses to keep up with inflation on a system already near a breaking point may as well be a cut. We cannot sacrifice the needs of today and expect a better tomorrow.”
While the SU is happy to see the University of Calgary receive funding earmarked specifically for STEM students, this runs the risk of putting an additional burden without providing funding for the staff and resources needed to provide a worthwhile education to those new students. Class sizes continue to balloon in size, and many students are forced to take their classes in buildings that are falling apart as the university is $740 million behind in repairs and maintenance.
On the whole, Alberta’s 2024 budget has cut per-capita spending on post-secondary funding by 7.3%.
The SU is also concerned that the province will once again look towards major tuition increases to make up the difference. Without an increase in operating funding for universities, students’ quality of education will continue to be jeopardized. When students’ education is at risk, the Albertan economy is at risk.
“It is alarming to see the Alberta government put funding aside for a future that students might not be able to afford, when we need major investment now. Albertans today are going to suffer so we can say we had a minuscule ‘accounting surplus’. This budget borrows from the future of not just students, but every Albertan,” said SU VP External Mateusz Salmassi.
The real risk in that future is that Alberta is going to be leaving talent on the table. Without proper funding for post-secondary education, fewer courses are available for students, which delays graduation and turns away countless talented, prospective students. Despite a target of increasing Alberta’s post-secondary seats by 30,000, this budget falls short while students and graduates are continuing to leave the province to seek opportunities elsewhere.
The SU will continue to advocate for the needs and issues of the students not just of U of C, but for all Albertan students. The hope is that this budget will be the last of this kind before irreversible damage is done to Alberta’s future and that the priorities of those living, working, and studying in the province today are met.
Media Inquiries may be directed to:
Manager, Communications & Government Relations
email@example.com // 403-835-1836