Alberta Government Clarifies Budget, Students Remain Concerned

OTTAWA, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology has clarified that yesterday's budget will not remove the cap on student debt of approximately $29,000 for a four-year degree, but have instead eliminated a first-year grant of a similar name.

"While student debt will remain capped, the budget still means increase the indebtedness of Alberta's students," said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Driving students deeper into debt will not move Alberta forward."

The budget proposes to cut the provincial student grants program by $51 million, replacing many grants (including the first-year loan relief grant), scholarships and bursaries with loans. The budget contains a $205 million cut in post-secondary education funding that includes infrastructure and research and development investments.

"The Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology has confirmed that the tuition cap will remain in place," said Giroux-Bougard. "However, the Minister is leaving the door open to tuition fee increases for some programs."

Tuition fees in Alberta rose 4% between 2008 and 2009 according to Statistics Canada. Universities in Alberta have already requested that the Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology allow increases of up to $4,000 for professional program fees next year.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation. It is composed of over 80 university and college students' associations with a combined membership of over one half million students in all ten provinces.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: For further information: Katherine Giroux-Bougard, National Chairperson, (613) 232-7394

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