Students rally for provincial Day of Action to demand post-secondary funding and student aid reform

News Staff - Mon Mar 28, 2022

EDMONTON — March 28, 2022 — The University of Alberta Students’ Union (UASU), alongside representatives from the Students' Association of MacEwan University and other community stakeholders, are rallying at the Alberta Legislature today at 12:00 noon. Students aim to protest the latest round of cuts to post-secondary education, and to demand changes to student financial aid.

The province’s 2022 budget slashed Alberta Advanced Education's funding by $62 million, despite projecting a $2.1 billion surplus over the next three years. Meanwhile, Advanced Education continues to provide minimal needs-based student grants compared to the rest of Canada, damaging equitable access to education.

"Compared to the rest of Canada, Alberta's students graduate with higher average debt and are more likely to graduate with debt to the government, often far more than the actual cost of their degree," said UASU President Rowan Ley. "Alberta's student financial aid system needs to catch up with the rest of Canada."

More than 260,000 students are pursuing post-secondary education in Alberta, and prospective students are projected to increase sharply in coming years. Alberta universities need more funding to deliver high-quality education. Budget 2022 aims to support enrolment growth, but only for a few government-selected courses of study, and only after waves of deep cuts to core funding.

"At the University of Alberta alone, provincial funding has dropped by $222 million in three and a half years," said Ley, "but tuition is skyrocketing. We've lost thousands of jobs, and the remaining staff and instructors face constant pressure to do more with much less. For example, when students need accessibility accommodations, they're seeing unacceptable wait times and reduced services. Even if all the new tuition revenue somehow goes toward increasing the quality of education, that's a drop in the bucket compared to what reasonable provincial funding could do."

About the University of Alberta Students’ Union

The UASU is the official representative of 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:

Ari Campbell

External Relations Specialist

University of Alberta Students’ Union

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