News / Calgary

ACAD calls on government to find equitable funding formula

Institution not funded the same as other post-secondary institutions in Alberta

The Alberta College of Art and Design

Metro File Photo

The Alberta College of Art and Design

Students at the Alberta College of Art and Design aren't valued the same as their neighbours at the University of Calgary – but the school doesn't seem to know why.

For years students at ACAD have been funded around 67 cents for every dollar every other post-secondary student in the province is allocated, according to the president of the school's faculty association. With another base funding review on the table at the province, the institution is hoping a change in the model could up their funding substantially.

"When they review the funding structure, I encourage them to look at a system that's equitable for students," said ACAD President Daniel Doz. "There's no real rationale why I get X amount of dollars and Bow Valley College gets Y amount – it's all over the map."

Doz said if the province looked to Ontario they would find a per-student funding model which allocates funds based on enrolment. He said they identify categories based on what programs students are in to identify differences in costs.

Meanwhile, Ontario is undergoing a complete overhaul of their system to shift the focus from enrolment to a much broader and in-depth data analysis of the quality of students' experience.

The Alberta College is about the size of a small high school at 1,000 students, but ACAD Faculty Association president Alex Link says they're mighty and have been pumping out grads some of whom have won Governor General awards, and more.

"We're doing really really good things here, and really positive things here," Link said.

Link said with what's best described literally as a shoestring budget, the school is having difficulty attracting and keeping renowned staff.

"You could absolutely transform the Alberta College of Art and Design with an infusion of funding that at least made it fair within the system, with a total dollar amount the system wouldn't feel," Link said.

Metro asked the Minister of Advanced Education about where the province is at with its funding review and was sent a written statement.

“The post-secondary system in Alberta is complex and that is why we are taking time to ensure that the outcomes of the review of adult learning help us develop long-term solutions to ensure post-secondary education is sustainable and affordable," read Minister Marlin Schmidt's statement. "Currently, our government is reviewing programs and policy to support future discussions with our stakeholders.”

Doz said so far the government hasn't engaged them in a conversation yet.

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