Alberta PSE operating grants cut by nearly 7%

March 8, 2013

As per the Alberta government's 2013 budget, provincial PSE institutions will receive $2 billion in base operating grants, a $147-million decrease from 2012-13. At the same time, Alberta is promising students it won't allow extra tuition hikes to make up the shortfall. The 6.8% cut in operating grants is a sharp reversal in the PSE sector's expectations. The 2012 budget promised institutions predictable 2% increases to their operating grants for 3 years so they could plan ahead. PSE officials and student leaders say they were shocked by the cuts, which Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk acknowledges are severe, but he says institutions should turn their attention to trimming excess to bridge the gap. He is calling for a system-wide push toward reducing inefficiencies. One example of unneeded duplication, Lukaszuk says, is the MBA program offered at both the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta's Calgary campus. He is also proposing measures to tighten up administrative costs, such as merging payroll departments at institutions. The budget also outlines a 21% increase in money available for student loans, a $250,000 increase in funding for the province's scholarship program, and a new grant for low-income students. Alberta News Release | Globe and Mail | Calgary Herald | Edmonton Journal | Lethbridge Herald | Medicine Hat News