Alberta government announces a cap in tuition increase

by | Feb 21, 2023 | News

The Alberta Government announced a cap on tuition increases, starting in the 2024-2025 year on Feb. 16 at the University of Alberta. The announcement comes after continued pressure on post-secondary students and staff due to inflation, the cost of living increasing and continuous tuition hikes coming to many Albertan universities and colleges in the past few years. The cap itself, set at two per cent, is only part of a larger list of changes coming for students across the campus.

According to a press release, Advanced Education Minister of Alberta Demetrios Nicolaides says that the government has been paying attention. “We are continuing to listen to those concerns and are taking concrete steps to improve affordability, address inflation and make tuition more stable and predictable for Alberta’s post-secondaries.”

What can we expect?

As part of the 2023 budget, the government will cap tuition for the 2024-20245 “and future years” at two percent. For the 2023-2024 year, tuition increases will stay five and a half per cent based on the Alberta Consumer Price Index. 

According to Nicolaides, the goal is to help post-secondaries keep revenues stable next year while keeping tuition predictable for students. “[the cap] will provide institutions with a one-year transition period while ensuring that tuition increases remain affordable over the longer term.” He also thinks this will keep Alberta competitive with the rest of the country. “Capping tuition increases […] also brings Alberta in line with other provinces such as British-Columbia.”

Other changes coming 

The Minister also announced a change to the interest-free grace period on Alberta student loans. It will be increased from six months to 12 months. The change was made to “give students more time to find gainful employment without having to worry about student loan payments,” the press release explained. According to Nicolaides, this change will also have a major impact for Alberta, and “will make Alberta a leader in Canada in terms of student loan repayment.” 

Alberta will also change the interest rates on student loans. Instead of students paying back the prime rate plus one, Nicolaides says they will reduce it to just the prime rate. “With this change, the vast majority of current and all future […] borrowers will benefit, including those who are not facing repayment challenges.”

The Repayment Assistance Plan will also see an increase from 25 000 dollars to 40 000 dollars. According to the Advanced Education Minister, this will ease the impact of inflation, help make it easier for student loan borrowers to make their repayments and help the transition into the workforce. 

Finally, the government will increase the Alberta Student Grant; each eligible student will receive a one-time additional $225 per month in the 2022-23 academic year.  “High inflation has made life more expensive for all Albertans, including post-secondary students. These new measures will help all students deal with higher costs during these challenging times,” said Nicolaides in the press release. 

What about International Students?

In the press release, there are no mentions of international student tuition. In an interview with the CBC, Nicolaides said that he is in communication with international groups to discuss financial support.  “A few months back, I announced the creation of the Alberta Bureau of International Education, which is intended to help operate as a broader support network and system to increase Alberta’s presence on the international scene.”

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