Alberta Is Moving To Performance-Based Post-Secondary Funding. What Will That Mean?

Melanie Woods
Graduates at MacEwan University are seen in Edmonton in June 2019.

Big changes are coming to how Alberta’s post-secondary schools are funded.

Last week, Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government announced a shift to a performance-based funding model. As well as previously announced budget cuts, this means an additional chunk of money for schools will be determined by how well they meet certain metrics set by the province such as graduate income and employment rates. 

Many students and academics worry about the implications of such a monumental shift and a lack of information on how those metrics will be determined before universities have to cement their budgets in the coming months.

“I do not trust that either the government can give competent direction or that the people who are developing the indicators can competently identify measures that actually measure performance adequately,” University of Calgary political science professor Melanee Thomas told HuffPost Canada. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education after being sworn into office, in Edmonton on Tuesday April 30, 2019.

Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides announced the changes on Monday, and said each post-secondary school will be able to establish their own priorities, alongside some system-wide targets. 

″[Possible indicators] include graduation and completion rates, graduate employment, experiential learning, enrolment both domestic and international, commercialization of [intellectual property], research capacity, quality of teaching and student experience and student satisfaction,” said Nicolaides.

The funding will be scaled. If a school meets 90 per cent of its targets in these areas, it will receive 90 per cent of its funding, Nicolaides said. Most post-secondary schools receive 40 per cent of their funding from the province, with the remainder coming from other sources such as tuition, private donors and corporations. 

Watch: MacEwan University grads design computer program that turns brain waves into drone commands. Story continues below.


The government will implement the new policy in stages, with 15 per cent of its funding tied to the...

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