The provincial government announced Dec. 7 that tuition and fees at Alberta’s 20 big post-secondary institutions will be unchanged for 2018-19 academic year.
According to the Government of Alberta website, extending the freeze means that “post-secondary education will be more affordable for nearly 250,000 students, both full- and part-time.”
“We know that affordable post-secondary education is important to Albertans and is key to our growing economy,” said Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt in a news release.
“That is why we are freezing tuition for another year as we prepare to bring forward long-term tuition and funding policies in the new year,” he said.
The average domestic tuition fee for a student at SAIT is about $5,000 per year, and $6,000 at the University of Calgary.
Phi Nguyen, a first-year student in SAIT’s radio, television and broadcast news program, welcomed the announcement.
“It’s a relief knowing that I won’t be as heavily in debt to my student loans because of the freeze,” said Nguyen.
“The freeze is definitely helpful for students, but I think lowering tuition fees overall would be more helpful for students across Alberta.”
While Canadian resident students will benefit from the freeze, international students aren’t covered by the policy and could face increases in their tuition.
Currently international student fees are almost double and in some cases triple the amount of domestic tuition.
“I believe that the freeze should also apply to international students,” said Tracey Nguyen, an international student in the engineering design and drafting technology program at SAIT.
“Our tuition is already about three times more. We don’t have enough money and scholarships don’t cover everything,” she said.
Tracey Nguyen added that she and other international students came to Canada with hopes of obtaining a better education and can understand why their tuition costs more than that of a Canadian student.
It’s a relief knowing that I won’t be as heavily in debt to my student loans because of the freeze – Phi Nguyen
“We’re international students here to study. Our parents don’t pay taxes to the Canadian government. Other students and their families pay taxes.
“It’s only fair that we pay more for using Canadian resources,” said Tracey Nguyen.
SAIT’s response to the government’s decision was low key.
In an emailed statement, spokesperson Chris Gerritsen said, “We continue to work with the government to ensure students in Alberta haves access to SAIT’s renowned applied-learning environment.”