EDMONTON—Public Interest Alberta is pleased that the Klein government has announced the creation of the new portfolio of Minister of Advanced Education.
With the announcement today that David Hancock will be the new minister, advocacy groups for post secondary education are optimistic that the government will be taking real action to resolve the issues facing Alberta's post-secondary system.
"We look forward to working with Minister Hancock on addressing the issues of accessibility, affordability and the quality of post-secondary education," said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. "Albertans certainly expressed many concerns about post-secondary education during the election, and so now we will see if the Klein government was really listening."
Public Interest Alberta worked with the Alberta College and Technical Institute Student Executive Council (ACTISEC), the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association (ACIFA) and the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA), to distribute three fact sheets on the state of post-secondary education during the election.
These fact sheets underline some of the serious issues the new minister will need to address over the years to come. "When you look at the facts about Alberta's post-secondary education, you see that the Minister will really have his work cut for him," say Moore-Kilgannon:
- nearly every post secondary institute is projecting an operating deficit in the immediate future;
- government funding has decreased by 28% per full-time student since 1993;
- University undergraduate tuition has increased by 183% since 1993;
- University students who have loans can expect to accumulate an average of $20,000 in debt by the time they graduate.
"It is no wonder the government was feeling the pressure from Albertans on this issue. Albertans will now be watching closely to see if this party proves it is 'committed to high-quality, affordable post-secondary education,'" says Moore-Kilgannon.
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