The Government of Alberta released the annual reports for all 24 ministries including Alberta Advanced Education and Technology today. The report shows that Alberta is still making the grade when it comes to increasing access to Alberta’s post-secondary system.

Albertans were surveyed on whether they were satisfied that “adult Albertans can access education or training” and 25% of Albertans said no, which is up from 21% just one year ago. Alberta continues to have the lowest post-secondary participation rate in Canada, with only 17% of Albertans between 18-34 years old attending a post-secondary institution. Next door in British Columbia it is 23%.

Those who do get in are graduating with unacceptable levels of debt, with the average debt-to-income ratio well above the target set in the 2009 Business Plan.

Alberta has a plan to increase the number of spaces by 14,445 spaces by 2019, and for many those spaces cannot come quickly enough. It is also important that those spaces are well-funded, of the highest quality and are accessible and affordable to all qualified Albertans.

CAUS has a clear set of priorities intended to improve our participation rate and increase access to our universities. Those priorities are:

  • Regulating non-instructional fees;
  • Putting the Tuition Fee Policy into legislation;
  • Increasing base operating grants to institutions;
  • Increasing grants, bursaries and scholarships; and
  • Making elections more accessible to students.

If you want to read the 2009/10 Alberta Advanced Education and Technology annual report you can download it here and if you want to read more about CAUS’ priorities in addressing these concerns you can look here.