SOURCE: University of Calgary

University of Calgary

March 26, 2015 21:23 ET

University commends Alberta government for its commitment to post-secondary education

Cuts to PSE less than anticipated despite current economic climate

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - March 26, 2015) - The University of Calgary acknowledges the importance the Government of Alberta is placing on post-secondary education in the province in this current economic climate. The province demonstrated their commitment to limit the reduction in base funding to Campus Alberta to 1.4 per cent from $2.126 billion in 2014-15 to $2.098 billion in 2015-16. Campus Alberta will also receive a 2.7 per cent cut in 2016-17.

"We recognize the provincial government for investing in students and the quality of their education," said University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon. "While the cut will have an impact, once we have done a detailed analysis of the budget we will be in a better position to comment on how it will affect the university."

Finance Minister Robin Campbell introduced Budget 2015 in the Alberta Legislature Thursday afternoon announcing a new ten year plan to help manage the current provincial deficit of $4.991 billion.

"Any cuts in funding put pressure on all PSEs in Alberta and the University of Calgary," Cannon said. "Stable and predictable funding for the university is essential to meet enrolment demand and space requirements if we are to continue to produce the top quality graduates needed to help ensure the economic success of Calgary, the province and beyond."

Cannon stressed that over the long-term government needs to consider the allocation of new funding in terms of where the demand is.

"An increase in post-secondary capacity is essential to sustain and diversify economic growth in Calgary," said Cannon. "Calgary is one of the fastest growing cities; as such, demand for increasing both the number of student seats and space capacity to accommodate students continues to grow."

Provincial government projections suggest that between 2012 and 2022, over 57% of all new provincial post-secondary demand will be in the Calgary Region. Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education estimates that by 2022-23, there will be system-wide shortages, including a shortage of 4,607 spaces at the University of Calgary.

The University of Calgary was relieved to hear that the Government of Alberta is confirming its commitment of one year ago to provide target enrolment funding to post-secondary institutions for a second year. In fiscal 2014-15, the University of Calgary received $3.8 million for 339 additional student seats in year one to address enrolment pressures in most of its high demand program areas. The commitment of a cumulative total of $7.3 million in 2015-16 will be met by the government.

"This second year commitment is welcomed," said Cannon. "We will continue with a detailed analysis so that we are able to respond to enrolment pressures at the University of Calgary in the future."

The university is reviewing the budget in detail and will work with the Government of Alberta in the coming weeks to understand the specific impacts on the university. The University of Calgary will continue to vigorously pursue its Eyes High vision of excellence.

"We are hopeful the government will be able to develop a framework for stable and predictable funding. This is critical for institutions to be able to plan and meet the needs of current and future students," Cannon said.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a leading Canadian university located in the nation's most enterprising city. The university has a clear strategic direction to become one of Canada's top five research universities by 2016, 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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