Last week, the Alberta government announced that it was providing just shy of $4 million to increase enrollment at 3 colleges in Northern Alberta.
The announcement claimed the money would be split between these 3 colleges this year and could increase enrolment by at least 400 seats over the next 3 years:
- Portage College: $1.7 million
- Keyano College: $1.3 million
- Lakeland College: $990,000
This funding won’t be general operating funding, but is to be directed to enrolment expansion in specific programmes, including health care aide training, practical nursing, and animal health technology.
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But there’s something you should know.
During the 2018–2019 budget year, Portage College received $29.8 million in operating grants from the Alberta government. Since that time, the college has lost $3.6 million in operational funding due to UCP funding cuts. That’s 16% of its 2018–2019 budget.
Keyano College received $34.4 million in operating grants from the provincial government in 2018–2019, and as of last summer, that amount was forecasted to drop to $26.7 million for the 2022–2023 school year. In fact, they lost 17% of their operational funding between 2018–2019 and 2021–2023 and were on track to lose a total of 20% by the end of this upcoming school year.
During the first two years of the UCP’s administration, Lakeland College saw a 7.2% cut and 2.3% cut in operational funding from the provincial government. That amounted to $3.5 million. According to a CBC article, the college saw no change (up or down) during the last provincial budget. I was unable to find how the 2022–2023 budget would affect the college’s operating grants.
But even if we assume that the budget was frozen for a second year, that’s nearly $15 million cut from the operating funds for the 3 colleges, combined, over the last 4 budgets.
Which means that the UCP have cut nearly 4 times—at least—from the general operating funds from these colleges than they have announced to give back to them in targeted funding.