Government of Alberta Announces 2% Tuition Increases Starting in 2024/25 After Years of Severe Tuition HikesNews Staff - Thu Feb 16, 2023
The Government of Alberta has announced a series of measures designed to engage students and recent graduates. Today’s announcement includes promising to fix domestic tuition increases at 2%, improvements to the Alberta Student Grant for Full-Time Students, expanded eligibility for the Repayment Assistance Plan, and an extended grace period for Alberta student loans.
Students at the University of Alberta have seen the value of their tuition dollars on a downward trajectory for years. A fixed 2% increase starting in 2024/25, while not a perfect outcome, is a significant change after three years of annual 7% increases and a brutal round of exceptional increases for specific programs. Students at the University of Alberta are still fighting another 5.5% increase in domestic tuition for 2023/24; meanwhile, successive years of international students continue to pay far more than their share.
In total, domestic students are seeing a cumulative increase ranging from 29% to 74% in just four years. Tuition has been rising around three times faster than inflation's impact on the University's actual costs — the direct result of over $222 million dollars in provincial government cuts directly shouldered by the University of Alberta.
The newly announced fixed increase will take effect too late to shield domestic students from the 5.5% increase. The University’s Board of Governors will take the vote on March 24th, 2023. In partnership with campus stakeholders, the UASU intends to protest at this meeting in hopes of preventing tuition from rising farther.
“If the Government of Alberta follows through," said Vice President Christian Fotang, "fixing tuition increases as low as possible can be a step toward protecting students from runaway tuition hikes and government cutbacks. But there’s still work to do to make post-secondary education affordable. We'll continue our work at the negotiating table to get closer to what students need."
Despite steep tuition increases and the cost of living, essential student aid and needs-based grants haven’t kept up. By the most recent available estimates, the Government of Alberta provides students with only 16 cents of needs-based grants for every dollar of debt it gives out.
“Alberta has a persistent imbalance between loans and needs-based grants,” said UASU President Abner Monteiro. “As students struggle to afford food and basic necessities, we're apprehensive about taking on even more debt. Backfilling University operating budgets is also key to protecting the quality of education. We encourage the Minister of Advanced Education to prioritize critical needs while expanding enrolment and preventing tuition spikes. That is where we urgently need to see the Government of Alberta step up.”
Today’s announcements are in no small part due to student advocacy across Alberta. The UASU acknowledges the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), the University of Calgary Students' Union (UCSU), and other stakeholders who have worked to ensure that post-secondary education remains affordable.
About the University of Alberta Students’ Union
The UASU is the official representative of 35,000 undergraduate students at the University of Alberta. It advocates for students’ needs and priorities to the University of Alberta and at all levels of government.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
External Relations Specialist
University of Alberta Students’ Union