An Act to Improve the Affordability and Accessibility of Post-secondary Education has passed third reading, setting the stage for a revised tuition framework and a more accessible system.
The amendments to the Post-secondary Learning Act will protect students from unfair tuition spikes by aligning increases to Alberta’s Consumer Price Index, and allow the minister to order tuition freezes to ensure affordability for students. The changes also tie mandatory non-instructional fees to the actual cost of the services, and ensure they can be frozen to ensure affordability.
“Post-secondary education is one of the best investments people can make in their lives. Extending the tuition freeze and implementing a revised tuition framework makes this investment more affordable so every Albertan has access to a good education and, ultimately, good jobs.”
For a fifth consecutive year, tuition and fees will remain frozen to ensure more students can afford a university or college education. University students taking an average-priced undergraduate program would save almost $2,000 on a four-year degree. In addition to predictability of tuition, students will have increased say in decisions that affect them with the requirement of written consent for new mandatory non-instructional fees.
“Students across Alberta have been asking for these changes for a long time and we are happy that our voices and concerns have been heard. This is a milestone for Alberta’s post-secondary system in creating a framework that works for students.”
“Alberta students are happy that Bill 19 passed third reading today. This bill, that legislates tuition, will ensure post-secondary education remains affordable for all Albertans in the years to come. Investments in education have always had a positive return for society.”
In addition, with the passing of the bill, post-secondary institutions across Alberta will be more collaborative and accessible for students moving across various institutions. This includes ensuring that post-secondary institutions can transition to universities to meet the needs of learners in every corner of the province.
Once the bill receives royal assent, regulations will be brought forward to further govern mandatory non-instructional fees, provide increased predictability for domestic and international students, and foster more collaboration between institutions and students.
Changes to the Post-secondary Learning Act will take effect Feb. 1, 2019. The changes are the result of consultations with students, faculty and staff. The consultations involved an online survey, which received more than 4,000 responses, and a number of focus groups.