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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2007

Alberta Budget: Kitty Bare on Research Funding

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach’s first provincial budget, unveiled April 19, provides massive cash infusions for public infrastructure spending, but offers only minor support to improve the affordability of post-secondary education and no new money for university research.

While the budget transfers $117 million more to post-secondary operational funding, $22 million of this grant is part of an agreement with institutions to limit tuition fee increases to the cost of inflation, which sits around 5 per cent. However, with the end of the province’s novel two-year centennial tuition rebate that allowed institutions to implement variable tuition fee increases with the government covering the increases, students will actually be seeing a sharp hike in fees for the 2007–2008 academic year.

The budget also allocates significant expenditures for the province’s Registered Education Savings Plan, with funding for the program — which largely benefits middle and upper income families — increasing by $20 million.

Other student measures include a $25 million increase in financial assistance to expand loan limits, and a 26 per cent hike in the education tax credit, from $475 to $600 per month for full-time students, and from $143 to $180 per month for part-time students.