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UCP announce funding for 3 colleges after years of cuts

The UCP government recently announced roughly $4 million for 3 colleges, but that’s after years of cutting 4 times that much from their operational funding.

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.

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.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

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