Bill proposed to allow Advanced Education Minister to regulate tuition

By Charles Lefebvre
October 29, 2018 - 4:30pm

EDMONTON — The provincial government is aiming to make changes to the tuition framework in Alberta.

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education, tabled Bill 19, An Act to Improve the Affordability and Accessibility of Post-Secondary Education, in the provincial legislature this afternoon.

If passed, the act would amend the Post-Secondary Learning Act and allow the minister to regulate tuition and non-mandatory instructional fees. The goal of the bill is to ensure fairness for students and allow them to have a greater voice in decisions which may impact their education.

“Post-secondary education is the key to prosperity, especially in our province’s diversifying economy,” said Schmidt in a statement. “But we need to make sure that students can afford to get a good university or college education, and that they have a say in the decisions that affect their education. That’s why we did such extensive consultation – we genuinely wanted to hear what Albertans had to say.”

According to a release, consultations involved an online survey, which received more than 4,000 responses.

The changes to the tuition framework would allow the government to cap each post-secondary institution’s average tuition and apprenticeship fee increases to the consumer price index, allow the Minister to regulate non-mandatory instructional fees and international student tuition, and given students more say over exception tuition and fee increases.

Other aspects of the proposed bill would confirm Alberta College of Art and Design’s transition to a university, and allow colleges to transition to university status without future legislative amendments.

The proposed changes also include ensuring there are at least two student representatives on the boards of each public post-secondary institution.

Schmidt adds the provincial government will be extending its tuition freeze for the fifth straight year.

If the bill is passed, the changes would take effect on on February 1, 2019.

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