Schools Training

Alberta Liberals Promise Free PSE Education

13 FEB 2012
Topic : Education News

Alberta’s Liberal Party has promised free higher education by 2025, amongst a host of other goodies in a recently released election platform. The platform also includes student loan forgiveness for graduates who stay to work in Alberta, elimination of school fees and the development of a school lunch program for the whole province.

Too good to be true? Possibly, the party has outlined a few ways to make all this happen. The first step in their plan involves capping undergraduate tuition and providing additional funding to allow schools to decrease tuition by $250 annually. As this gradual decrease happens, the party would create a Post-Secondary Education Fund, with the interest allowing further reductions in tuition, with the ultimate goal of bringing it down to zero.

The Liberals are also promising to forgive 5% or $1,000 of student debt each year a graduate works and files taxes in Alberta. This is significant. Alberta recently counted 267,373 students in its post-secondary system (average tuition is roughly $5,662) and just over a quarter (27 per cent) of them relie on provincial loans.

Raj Sherman - Leader of the Alberta Liberals

“That is how you build a know-ledge-based economy,” Liberal Leader Raj Sherman told the Edmonton Journal. “By making education affordable and accessible,” he said.

Sherman was ousted from the Conservative caucus for criticizing the government. He was elected Liberal leader in September, and while the party serves as the official opposition, support for them has fallen. The latest polls show the Liberals are the choice of 11 per cent of decided voters in the province. This platform, however, is expected to provide something of a shot in the arm. The question is, will it be enough?

What do you think about these election promises? Pie in the sky? Or could this really happen?