UAlberta Students March and Rally at the Alberta Legislature: Students demand No More Cuts to Post-Secondary in Provincial BudgetNews Staff - Thu Feb 17, 2022
The University of Alberta Students’ Union (UASU) along with the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA) and the Association of Academic Staff of the University of Alberta (AASUA), are marching to rally at the Alberta Legislature.
UAlberta students, staff and faculty are demanding an end to provincial budget cuts to post-secondary education, seeing as the Alberta Government is projecting a multi-billion dollar surplus in their upcoming budget.
“We’ve had years of cuts to post-secondary education (PSE),” says UASU President Rowan Ley. “Students, faculty and staff need funding, support and investment to continue their work and help Alberta thrive. High quality education helps prepare students for the future, creates a competitive workforce, employs thousands and leads to innovative research, all of which helps diversify Alberta’s economy. The Alberta Advantage needs to make a comeback.”
Provincial budget cuts have affected over 260,000 post-secondary students across Alberta, who are seeing reduced quality of education and critical services. Alberta’s students are paying more than ever for their tuition and these rising costs show no signs of slowing. Any additional cuts and the threat of exceptional tuition increases (as high as 105% in certain UAlberta programs) are a low blow for Alberta families and students’ who are trying to save up for their education.
“For Albertan institutions to maintain their international ranking, they have to attract and retain Canadian and international talents in the province,“ says GSA President Anas Fassih, “We have already started noticing signs of brain drain, i.e., graduate students leaving to other provinces in quest for affordable education that our institutions fail to provide due to these substantial budget cuts. It has to stop!”
The University of Alberta has historically been the hardest hit university in Alberta and has seen $170 million in cuts in three years.
“The United Conservative Party (UCP) government’s unprecedented cuts to the University of Alberta over the last three provincial budgets has led directly to the loss of over 1,000 jobs at the University,” says NASA President Jillian Pratt. “The vast majority of these job losses were support staff. Students know that fewer staff means a reduction in the critical services and supports that students count on every day. Enough damage has been done by this government to Alberta’s flagship university. It’s time to stop the cuts —and reverse them.”
“Pandemic financial aid is entirely depleted and ran out last fall," says UASU VP Academic Abner Monteiro. “Accessibility services are in shreds and program quality has seen a significant decline. We can’t stand by while more cuts destroy decades of investment and jeopardize all our futures. We need to keep post-secondary education properly funded to keep Alberta strong."
The UASU stands united with those who share concerns about the anticipated provincial budget cuts. Even if the provincial budget includes funding to match enrolment growth, the per-student reduction remains the same, which harms current and future post-secondary students.
"The Academic Staff at the U of A fully support the Students’ Union’s rally,” says AASUA President Tim Mills. “We will be with them on Thursday protesting. Investment in this generation of students should be a cornerstone of our economic recovery. Now is not the time to cut quality education: students deserve more. Together, we encourage the government to provide funding for affordable tuition and quality education."
About the University of Alberta Students’ Union
The UASU is the official representative of more than 35,000 undergraduate students at the University of Alberta. It advocates for students’ needs and priorities to the University of Alberta and at all levels of government.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
External Relations Specialist
University of Alberta Students’ Union