News / Edmonton

Student leaders welcome extension to Alberta tuition freeze

Fees will now stay the same through the 2017-18 academic year.

Fahim Rahman is the president of the University of Alberta's Student Union.

Metro File.

Fahim Rahman is the president of the University of Alberta's Student Union.

Student leaders are welcoming the tuition freeze announced by the provincial government Wednesday, arguing that students face enough financial pressure paying for rent, textbooks and school.

“It’s a small step for students, but it’s an important step for students,” said University of Alberta Student Union president Fahim Rahman.

“It sends the message that the provincial government values the affordability and accessibly of post-secondary education.”

Advanced Education minister Marlin Schmidt announced the freeze. It was initially announced last fall, meaning no increase in tuition or fees at universities, colleges and technical schools for two years. It's now extended through the 2017-18 academic year.

Schmidt said the extra year buys the government time to work with stakeholders to review the tuition and fee model in Alberta.

Carley Casebeer, vice chair of the Council of Alberta University Students and a student association executive at MacEwan University, said the way students pay fees hasn’t been reviewed in the province over a decade.

She’s excited to weigh in on the process, and her organizations want to focus on making sure the post-secondary institutions are open to all.

“What we’re really looking for is the underrepresented populations—rural students, indigenous students, mature students, all the students returning because of the state of the economy—to be factored into the equation as well.”

The government says an estimated 250,000 full- and part-time students and apprentices will save a total of about $16 million a year through the freeze.

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