Funding for post-secondary projects doesn’t come from operational cash

A recent letter by Roger Davis (Post-secondary funds defy logic, Oct. 21, 2013, Advocate) may mislead your readers, and I would like to clarify.

A recent letter by Roger Davis (Post-secondary funds defy logic, Oct. 21, 2013, Advocate) may mislead your readers, and I would like to clarify.

The letter alleges that funding for the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering has been pulled from other institutions’ operating budgets.

The truth is that capital and operational funding are not interchangeable. More than $2 billion a year in operating funds supports our post-secondary institutions. Budget 2013 reduced the major operating grant to all institutions by seven per cent. Capital funding commitments were kept.

The Schulich building was part of the capital plan, and it is a sensible project that supports better learning for hundreds of students.

Construction is also underway at NAIT and Mount Royal University for facilities supporting trades and arts education.

Maintaining Alberta’s position as a leader in post-secondary education requires a balance: supporting programs and faculty, maintaining existing infrastructure, and building world-class facilities to attract the best and brightest.

Pitting communities, programs and institutions against each other is tired and antiquated thinking, especially when tied to claims that one institution’s growth is coming at others’ expense.

I would encourage Mr. Davis and all Albertans to take a look across Campus Alberta, and see why there is a great deal to be optimistic about. This government is building Alberta, and giving students the skills and knowledge they need to be successful — in a wide range of programs.

Thomas Lukaszuk

Deputy Premier and

Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education

Edmonton