Alberta Tuition Rates Where do we stand?

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As students, we all know how grueling our academic careers can be, both educationally and financially. Many of us are taking out loans, living our lives with empty pockets and eating Mr. Noodle for years on end. With the rising cost of everything in Canada, many questions are left ambiguous in regards to tuition rates and the ever-rising cost of living. Sure, there are scholarships, grants, bursaries, loans, and RESPs – but with strict requirements and deadlines and interest rates rising, it can be an overwhelming prospect.

Each province’s average rate for tuition varies from the next and even more so, they vary from school to school and between programs. With Ontario and Nova Scotia holding some of the highest tuition fees of all provinces and Newfound Land having the cheapest, everyone else falls somewhere in between. But let’s not forget about those dang compulsory fees. According to StatsCan, Alberta gets the gold for compulsory fees and lowest once again goes to Newfound Land.

Alberta’s NDP government put a temporary cap on tuition fees and subsequently extended it until 2021 but what happens after that? With the increasing national and personal debt, do we really want to set up our future generations with a burden of academic debt as well?

If we look at Nova Scotia, their tuition costs increase at a rate of 5.6% compared to the average of around 3.1% for other provinces. One of their reasons for this is to retain highly qualified teaching staff but one must ask how useful that is when 32% of the future generations, according to Students Nova Scotia, have to migrate to other provinces in order to earn a decent wage post-graduation to repay the mounting debt.

And in Manitoba, while having one of the lowest tuition fees in the country has had funding of post-secondary institutions recently been cut by 6 million dollars promoting a tuition increase.

And in Ontario, Minister Merrilee Fullerton announced back in January that the government would be changing the tuition program. The government says they will be cutting overall tuition by 10% and also will be making contributions to student programs a choice.

Alberta United Conservative Party candidate Jason Kenney also advocates the option to choose program funding in his 2019 platform. However, students in Alberta have spoken out against such a proposal because it would cause many programs to be forced to shut down and leave students without the help they may find themselves in need of.

So where do we go from here? While there are scholarships, bursaries, and grants out there, how many does a student really qualify for? It is contended that one simply blindly apply to all because they have to award the money to someone,

but who has the time to do that? Filling out all of the applications, writing the essays, gathering the character references, etc., it’s its own full-time job! And with the current system of constant increases, students almost feel like we’re shopping for a car that is out of our price range with a maxed out Visa. With something as priceless as our futures at stake, how can we let anyone slap a price tag on it?


Shereen Jawad is a student at Athabasca University with plans to complete a Ph.D. She is a freelance writer for Gig City, does performance poetry and runs her own freelance writing business. Facebook page: Mail Order Writer"

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