Budgeting for Alberta’s Future
How will the newly released provincial budgets affect poor little students?
Andrea Roberts, Staff Writer
On Oct 29, The NDPs released provincial budgets for 2015. A few highlights that students will enjoy is a continued 2-year tuition freeze and $228 million in funding for student aid; money that will help to support around 47,500 students seeking scholarships and 16,000 students seeking grants. $579 million will be spent for student loans allowing 77,000 recipients to go to school. In2012, Mount Royal University along with the other post-secondary institutions inAlberta experienced a funding freeze; this led to a number of programs being cut and part-time lecturers being let go. It came as a shock as MRU had been promised higher funding by the same government if it became a University. This decision was finally overthrown with Bill 3, which allowed funding to continue but at a 1.4 per cent of the original budget. However with Notley’s new government, higher education, professors and students might benefit over the next three years. Alberta’s government has dedicated $5.7 billion for advanced education in this fiscal year. Yet it might not be all sunshine and roses for Alberta’s post secondary students.There will be tax hikes on tobacco, alcohol and fuel; the latter making a trip to school more expensive than it used to be. Premier Rachel Notley and Finance Minister Joe Ceci said that they would not be making any cuts to healthcare, education and human services in order to balance the budget and are expecting a $6.1 billion dollar deficit due to lower tax, royalty and corporate revenue from the oil and gas industry. Instead Notley plans to focus on jobs and diversification, infrastructure, community development and small business access to capital. It’s impossible to know how all this will turn out for Alberta, but after a large scale shift in political control in both Alberta and Canada, its safe to say that we can expect some serious change.