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Alberta's post-secondary budget cut six per cent

Alberta's post secondary institutions are taking another hit in Alberta's 2020 budget, and will be expected to raise revenue on their own to make up for a six-per-cent government funding cut.

“We need to work together with our excellent, world-class post secondary institutions to bring that cost curve down,” said Alberta finance minister Travis Toews, speaking to media at the release of Alberta's Budget 2020 fiscal plan on Thursday.

According to the MacKinnon Panel report, Alberta spends $36,500 per full time post-secondary student, thousands more than Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. Those three provinces spend $21,500, $31,300 and $25,880 per student per year, respectively.

“We need transformation certainly in the cost of delivering advanced education in this province,” Toews said.

RELATED: Alberta finance minister says 2020 could be turning point for economy

The provincial government has budgeted $5.1 billion for Advanced Education in 2020-21, six per cent less than the 2019-20 forecast of $5.5 billion.

Staffing reductions have already begun as the province pushes post-secondary educations to cut costs.

Post secondary institutions in Alberta will be expected to pay for more of their operating expenses out of pocket. In 2018-19, post secondary institutions paid for 43 per cent of their operating expenses, but will have to cover 48 per cent of those costs by 2022-23.

Toews said the government is changing regulations to create more opportunities for post-secondary institutions to generate more revenue on their own, such as giving post-secondary institutions more flexibility to borrow money.

Budget 2020 also introduces performance-based funding for institutions as part of a new model that will allow the government to “shift away” from having to fund all post-secondary institutions equally, rewarding institutions that meet set performance expectations.

Even still, Toews said by 2023, Alberta's per capita spending will still be above what other comparable provinces spend.

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