Bylaws and Policies

Political Policy Student Financial Assistance

Expires: April 30, 2021

1 Facts

  1. Post-secondary education is a public good due to the benefits it brings to the social structure and tax system.
  2. The cost of attaining a post-secondary education includes tuition, fees, the cost of educational materials, and living expenses.
  3. The cost of a university education as well as student debt continues to increase.
  4. The high costs associated with university education pose a barrier to accessing, and a disincentive to completing a university education.
  5. Students who do not receive financial assistance for their education may be required to take on large amounts of debt.
  6. Some students require part or full time employment in order to finance their education.
  7. There is an opportunity cost for individuals who choose to pursue an education rather than earnings from working.
  8. Students partaking in part or full time employment do not have the same opportunity for academic achievements as those who do not require employment to finance their education.
  9. The high cost associated with university education can be detrimental to academic and extracurricular student achievement.
  10. Need-based aid, merit based awards, and student loans are all integral parts of the student finance system.
  11. The current need-based aid and merit based awards application process is inefficient and time consuming.
  12. Need-based aid is an integral part of the student finance system, without which students in financial need could not afford a university education.
  13. Merit based awards target students who are less likely to have dire need of financial aid.
  14. The University of Alberta should not only aim to attract talented students, but demonstrate a commitment to supporting undergraduate students with financial needs and assist them in realizing their full potential.

2 Resolutions

  1. The Students' Union advocates for a provincial financial aid system that:
    1. Includes increased relative and absolute amounts of non-repayable assistance, including but not limited to grants and bursaries;
    2. Recognizes the importance of need-based student financial aid that increases the relative and absolute amounts and number of need based aid awards, which are awarded based on students’ financial need and/or involvement;
    3. Is accessible to all Alberta students attending not-for-profit post-secondary institutions;
    4. Recognizes the complete overhead costs of education to the learner including, but not limited to, rent and utility costs, textbook costs, transportation costs, food, personal care, internet, and computer costs;
    5. Includes adjustments to all forms of financial assistance to reflect changes in market realities as they affect students;
    6. Eases the growing burden of student debt to post-secondary graduates;
    7. Increases the number of awards targeted to traditionally barriered populations, including but not limited to, Aboriginal students, rural students, students with disabilities, and low-income students.
  2. The Students’ Union advocates for Student Financial Assistance provided by the University of Alberta that:
    1. Increases the number and value of need-based awards to continuing undergraduate students such that they are consistent with the number and value of entrance awards;
    2. Increases the monetary value of awards in conjunction with any increase to the cost of higher education;
    3. Increases the number of available awards as enrolment of students increases;
    4. Annually discloses the ratio of need to merit-based aid, and the distribution of awards between years of study;
    5. Has an efficient application process that connects more students to funding.
  3. The Students’ Union advocates that donors support students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse skills via scholarships and bursaries.