The Government of Alberta’s continued commitment to stable and predictable funding for post-secondary education will allow Portage College to balance its budget. In Budget 2018 – A Recovery Built to Last, delivered March 22, the government once again increased the College’s Campus Alberta Base Operating Grant by 2%, approximately $460,000. The government will also provide approximately $68,000 in back-fill funding to provide for the continuation of the tuition freeze.
“We are grateful to the government for fulfilling its promise of stable and predictable funding for post-secondary education,” said Dr. Trent Keough, President and CEO of Portage College. “During the past seven years, we have had to cut $9.2 million and 18% of our workforce in order to balance our budget. While we still face inflationary pressures, the government’s commitment to Portage College is greatly appreciated.”
Government also announced $6 million for 3,000 new technology-related post-secondary program seats, which are expected to grow to $43 million per year by 2022-23. New funding will attract investment to the province and bolster programs that will help create good jobs for everyday Albertans and enhanced training to grow a high-tech workforce.
“We see this funding an asset to supporting the growth of the northeast region we serve. Our two exciting technology based initiatives underway: potable water in Lac La Biche and the pipeline training loop in Boyle will address the need for a skilled high-tech workforce in rural Alberta. Each of these initiatives addresses high technology applications integrated with boots-on-the ground learning experiences.” said Keough. “Portage needs the infrastructure necessary to do the training and education locally, else technology driven occupational training will continue to be an urban phenomenon.”
Other budget highlights for Alberta post-secondary institutions:
- A total of $669.5 million budgeted for student loans to help an estimated 84,500 students-a $39.5 million increase from Budget 2017;
- $246 million for Student Aid, including $97 million in scholarships and awards for 53,500 students and $57 million in grants for 19,000 students;
- $31 million for Apprenticeship Delivery – to develop and deliver trade and occupational programs, as well as staff 12 regional offices;
- $94 million for Foundation Learning Supports, helping Albertans seeking English as a Second Language training, academic and skills upgrading, and occupational skills; and
- Continued funding of $8 million for post-secondary mental health initiatives.