December 22, 2014 8:45 pm
Updated: December 23, 2014 1:38 am

Alberta government approves tuition hikes in 25 programs


WATCH: Post-secondary students will have to dig deeper after the Alberta government approved tuition hikes in 25 programs. Shallima Maharaj explains.

EDMONTON — The cost of more than two dozen Alberta post-secondary programs is going up.

Twenty-five programs across the province will see tuition hikes, which the government calls “market modifiers.” Don Scott, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, explains they are intended to “address tuition anomalies between programs in Alberta and across the country.”

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In Edmonton, the changes will affect five programs at the University of Alberta: law, economics, pharmacy, business administration and physical therapy.

The most significant change will be to the law program, in which students currently pay just over $10,000 per year. That cost will rise to just under $16,000.

READ MORE: University of Alberta Law dean proposing 58% tuition increase

You can see the full list of increases here. It’s important to note that existing students in the affected programs will not be impacted by the hikes.

The university is thrilled with the approval of market modifiers, which it believes will help boost the level of service in each of the programs.

“It’s still an increase that allows us to provide excellence of quality in our services, but it is not prohibitive for the student,” said Olive Yonge, the U of A’s interim provost.

The Alberta Students Executive Council disagrees. Late Monday afternoon, it released a statement saying it “is frustrated with the government’s decision and sees it as an additional financial barrier that discourages students from pursuing or continuing their education.”

NDP leader Rachel Notley echoed that concern.

“The sons and daughters of doctors, and successful business people and lawyers, those are the folks who are going to be able to afford to go into these programs. Other people are going to be put off by the idea of a six-figure debt coming out of university.”

She added that the hikes allow students to pay for the government’s mismanagement of the economy.

“Here we are talking about how we need to decrease our reliance on oil and gas and diversify our economy…obviously one of the foundations to doing that is ensuring accessible post-secondary education.”

The increases will amount to $8.6 million per year in additional revenue for the U of A, and $21 million across Campus Alberta institutions.

According to Yonge, that money will be used for student support such as bursaries and increasing teaching resources.

The highest increase is at Olds College, where students in animal health technology, apparel technology and equine science will see increases of 71 per cent.

READ MORE: A look at the rise of tuition costs – and student debt – in Canada

The average tuition rate for an undergraduate program in Alberta is $5,730 in the 2014-15 school year, according to Statistics Canada numbers cited by the province. The national average is reportedly $5,959 per year.

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