Advanced Education’s consolidated budget for 2016-17 is $5.9 billion.
Alberta’s publicly funded post-secondary institutions will receive $2.3 billion in operating grants in 2016-17. This is a 2 per cent increase over last year which delivers on government’s promise of sustainable funding for post-secondary.
In addition to increased operating grants, Budget 2016 includes:
- the second year of backfill funding to institutions to freeze tuition for Alberta students; and,
- an extension of expiring student mental health grants.
Student Financial Support
There is approximately $240 million budgeted for student financial assistance.
$90M in scholarships for 49,000 students, of which $7M is for indigenous awards
$54M in bursaries and grants for 16,700 students
$60M for student loan and student debt management program administration
$36M for program delivery
In addition, $579 million will be available for student loans to more than 77,000 students.
Student Mental Health Funding
Mental health grants were instrumental in getting important initiatives off the ground at our campus-based universities to create healthy and supportive post-secondary campus environments.
Government is providing $3.1 million to extend four expiring mental health grants through to 2017. This funding is in addition to $500,000 in existing grants with two institutions for a total investment of $3.6 million in student mental health. We will continue to work with Alberta Health and students to determine the best long-term approach to supporting the mental health needs of students across Alberta.
Foundational Learning Supports
New in the Advanced Education budget documents is a line item for foundational learning supports. This $76 million is not new funding but represents a realignment of learner funding among Human Services, Labour and Advanced Education.
Foundational learning funding helps eligible Albertans attend programs like English as a Second Language, and skills and academic upgrading programs with monthly financial assistance. Support is also provided for tuition, books and mandatory fees.
Budget 2016 includes $43 million for the department to develop and deliver trade and occupational programs, as well as staffing 12 regional offices. Budget 2016 also maintains support to Alberta’s apprenticeship training system providing $77 million to post-secondary institutions to deliver technical training.
Additionally, as part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, the ministry of Economic Development and Trade has earmarked $15 million over two years to help support unemployed apprentices to complete their training.
Capital and Maintenance Funding
Budget 2016 includes $449 million for capital projects:
- Accelerated and additional funding for the University of Lethbridge Destination Project: $125M
- Restored funding for NorQuest College Expansion and Retrofit: $16M
- Keyano College Facility Upgrades: $7.8M
- University of Calgary MacKimmie Complex Project Planning: $8.6M
- Capital Maintenance and Renewal: $101M
- $186.6M in funding for government’s existing allocation for multi-year capital projects in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Red Deer. Some examples include:
- Mount Royal University Library and Learning Centre: $47M
- University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering: $26M
- NAIT Centre for Applied Technology: $25M
- Red Deer College Multiplex: $20M
- Lethbridge College Trades and Technology Renewal and Innovation Project: $14M
- MacEwan University City Centre Campus: $10M
- NorQquest College Expansion and Retrofit: $45M (Note: $45M dollars existing allocation in Budget 16-17 plus restored funding of $16M equals a total of $61M for NorQuest in Budget 16-17)
- Department IT Capital Investment – Budget ’16 includes $4M for Advanced Education’s IT requirements, including MyTradeSecrets, ATOMS and the student aid system.