CUE and the Alberta 2019-20 BudgetPosted on: Oct 25, 2019
Dear CUE community,
Yesterday’s provincial budget for 2019-20, backdated to April 1, outlined a 5% overall cut to Campus Alberta grants for post-secondary institutions. These funding reductions are being differentiated across the system in recognition that different institutions have varying capacity to absorb them. Additionally, the Government of Alberta is lifting the multiple-year freeze on tuition for the next three years, up to a 7% increase each year for public institutions. Government has indicated this is to ensure that institutions are less reliant on provincial funding, and to encourage the generation of more funding from tuition and other sources of revenue.
At this time, I am waiting for a formal budget letter from the Ministry of Advanced Education that will outline exactly how government plans may affect us; however, ahead of this letter I have received some relatively good news.
What I heard.
Though CUE will not receive a budget increase for 2019-20, I have been advised that our government funding will not be cut this year. In fact, our main operating grant ($12,950,708), along with the additional amounts provided for student mental health ($90,000), and supports for students with disabilities ($87,000) will remain intact.
Given our relatively small budget, it is likely that CUE fell below the threshold for cuts. Furthermore, we have also already shouldered substantial comparative and cumulative funding inequities in recent years. The Ministry recognized that further austerity would have been challenging for our lean and growing university.
CUE is staying the course.
I am happy to report that our approach to tuition increases at CUE will not change. We will continue to maintain competitive tuition rates that increase incrementally and moderately, and only as required in order to sustain the high quality of education we offer. We will always consult student leaders when making decisions about tuition.
All post-secondary institutions have been asked by the Minister to consider ways of reducing administrative costs, and to avoid duplication of services and programs. Funding should be prioritized to impact students in a positive way, and front-line services should be preserved. While we already have a lean administrative structure, we will continue to examine ways in which we might more effectively use our resources. This is especially important as our student numbers grow and require additional services to support success in their studies.
I am grateful to the Government of Alberta for this thoughtful decision with respect to CUE; it is clear that Minister Nicolaides and his team have listened to our concerns. We look forward to working with him and the Ministry of Advanced Education toward the goals of increased transparency, accountability, and responsiveness in post-secondary education, and to playing a key role in addressing skills shortages and future labour market changes in Alberta. Above all, we will continue to focus on our mission as a community of learning, grounded in scholarship and academic freedom, preparing students to be independent thinkers, ethical leaders, and citizens for the common good.
Tim Loreman, PhD.
President and Vice-Chancellor.