SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

April 14, 2016 20:03 ET

President Elizabeth Cannon applauds government's commitment to post-secondary education

Additional funding, increased student supports, and MacKimmie Complex redevelopment highlight provincial budget

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - April 14, 2016) - Facing a challenging economic climate, Minister of Finance Joe Ceci delivered a budget that continues to support post-secondary education and students in the province, committing $5.9 billion to the sector including a previously promised two per cent increase to Campus Alberta institutions. The budget is expected to increase to $6.0 billion in 2017-18 and $6.1 billion in 2018-19.

"We would like to thank the government for moving quickly to provide additional funding to the post-secondary system. This support is critical to meeting the growing demand from new students and those looking to upgrade their skills during the economic downturn," said President Elizabeth Cannon. "We look forward to working with the Minister of Advanced Education to develop a strong and sustainable future for funding and tuition. All Campus Alberta institutions are working together to enhance efficiencies and provide a full range of world leading education options for Albertans."

Capital projects specific to the University of Calgary also received support with the government committing $17 million for the MacKimmie Complex and Professional Faculties Redevelopment allowing the university to begin work on this very important project. In addition, $25 million was committed for the Schulich School of Engineering development this year, and $52 million in 2017.

"We strongly welcome these capital commitments to the university. Together, these investments improve access for students, and present opportunities for immediate economic growth for Calgary as well as long term economic prosperity for current and future students."

The University of Calgary also saw an increase in infrastructure maintenance funding.

"We are pleased with the funding increase in capital maintenance and renewal," Cannon said. "This provides significant support for much-needed upgrades and repairs to aging infrastructure on campus."

The government also announced an amalgamation of the four research innovation organizations. Research and innovation are critical to supporting the provincial economy and ensuring innovative discoveries lead to economic diversification. Cannon said that the amalgamation of provincial research organizations is a step in the right direction. The decrease in research funding however, will be a challenge that will need to be monitored closely.

The University of Calgary is a leader in sustainable energy research, and our discoveries have real world applicability. Research supported by the Province of Alberta will make a difference in transitioning our economy for the future.

"A strong innovation ecosystem is critical to ensuring Campus Alberta institutions can lead world-leading research successes," says Cannon. "It is important that we work together to ensure Alberta's new innovation strategy can help us achieve these goals."

The government also announced extended financial supports for mental health programming on post-secondary campuses including the University of Calgary, which Cannon termed 'critical' to ensuring students receive the mental health supports they need in their communities, provided by staff that are well-versed in the needs of students.

Other budget highlights included $240 million for Student Aid and $80 million for Adult Learning Supports.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is making tremendous progress on its journey to become one of Canada's top five research universities, where research and innovative teaching go hand in hand, and where we fully engage the communities we both serve and lead. This strategy is called Eyes High, inspired by the university's Gaelic motto, which translates as 'I will lift up my eyes.'

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