The government of Alberta is introducing a new funding model for post-secondary institutions.
On Monday, the province introduced a new performance-based funding approach that will increase transparency and build a modern and diverse workforce for the future.
Performance measure will encourage institutions to improve services, increase efficiencies and create opportunities for Albertans.
Speaking to reporters, Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides says this new model will ensure students are set up for success.
“Students make a significant investment in their post-secondary education, and it is essential we do everything possible to give them a rewarding career at the end of their studies. By shifting the focus to performance, we will ensure taxpayer dollars are being used in the most responsible way possible.”
Nicolaides points out that around 35 U.S. states use a form of performance-based funding.
Additional jurisdictions that have implemented various methods include the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Nicolaides says this is not intended to pit schools against one another for funding.
“This model will be non-competitive. So, this means institutions will not compete against each other for taxpayer dollars. Rather, they will compete against themselves and seek to improve their own performance against a series of targets.”
Nicolaides notes that different performance measures will be more important to different kinds of institutions.
He adds that if an institution does not meet its targets, the institution will receive funding that is proportionate to its level of achievement.
“The amount of funding tied to performance outcomes will begin at 15 per cent for 2020-21 and will gradually increase over three years to a maximum of 40 per cent by 2022-23.”
Alberta NDP Response
In a statement, the Alberta NDP is calling the new model an attempt to distract from their failed record.
“The UCP’s record when it comes to Advanced Education is tuition hikes, the elimination of education and tuition tax credits, increasing the interest on student loans, and cutting grant for universities and colleges, all to pay for this government’s $4.7-billion no-jobs corporate handout,” said MLA Sarah Hoffman Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition.
Hoffman feels the UCP have pushed life-changing education out of reach for many Albertans.
“Rather than trying to distract from his failures on this file and binding our institutions and students with greater amounts of red tape, Minister Nicolaides should be focusing on undoing the devastating cuts they’ve already imposed.”
However, Nicolaides says they are using recommendations from the MacKinnon report to develop the new model.
The MacKinnon Report identified the current post-secondary funding structure does not link funding to the achievement of specific goals or priorities for the province, such as ensuring the required skills for the current and future labour market.
A small number of performance measures will be introduced for the next academic year, and more measures will be gradually introduced over the next three years to a total of about 15.
The new model will take effect on April 1st.