The economic footprint of post-secondary education has taken a dramatic hit through the pandemic along with the reductions of government funding. Access to education is essential in the economic recovery of Alberta and its future access to human capital and intellectual development. Postsecondary education serves as a catalyst for innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategic organization for both the management and advancement of social and economic progress.
The economic impact that post-secondary institutions have on the effect of our provincial economy is a topic that needs to be brought forward during the time of the pandemic, particularly as we adjust to new economic and social realities. Unfortunately, this is a topic that seems to be put on the back burner of the recovery process.
Budget 2021 included a 5.4 per cent cut for post-secondary operations, which translated to the amount of $135 million this year for Alberta's universities and colleges. The Alberta government has indicated in budget documents that it intends to further reduce operating support for Alberta’s postsecondary institutions in 2022-23.
Since 2019, the university’s operating budget has been cut by 18 percent.2 Keep in mind that this is only outlining 3 of the 26 post-secondary schools.
The Alberta 2030 initiative outlines the key goals of: improve access and student experience, develop skills for jobs, support innovation and commercialization, strengthen internationalization, improve sustainability and affordability, and strengthen system governance.
Fund the increased enrollment spaces at post-secondary institutions required to support economic growth and prepare for the growing number of Alberta students; and,
Continue to partner with industry and post-secondary to expand work integrated learning opportunities and apprentice programs.