Provincial Budget 2020 Updates

The Alberta Government tabled its 2020-2021 budget on February 27. Here is a summary of the changes impacting the post-secondary sector. Budget 2019 had a strong impact on the post-secondary (PSE) sector. Budget 2020 reinforces those impacts.

Item Change Comments
University of Calgary Operating Grant – An additional 6.3% decrease in institutions’ operating expenses, on top of the 6.9% cut from Budget 2019.
– Amounts to a $26.7 million decrease to UCalgary’s Campus AB Grant for 2020
– Operating grant cuts in Budget 2019 resulted in 250 positions being eliminated from UCalgary
– UCalgary President and Vice-Chancellor, Ed McCauley anticipates that funding cuts in Budget 2020 will result in more positions being eliminated.
Outcomes-Based Performance Model – Phase 1 of a larger 3-phase post-secondary sector revamp plan
– 3-year Investment Management Agreements (IMAs) will replace the annual Campus AB operating agreements
– In 2020-21, 15% of institutions reduced operating grant will be tied to outcome-based performance metrics
– This was previously announced in January 2020. Inclusion in the budget represents the formal adoption of this funding model.
– Phase 2 and 3 of the PSE sector will likely unfold through Alberta 2030, a strategy document that will be developed in 2020. – Consultation has happened with the provincial advocacy organizations (ab-GPAC for graduate students), but not with individual associations.
– ab-GPAC has made a submission on behalf of all GSAs
Tuition Fees – Province-wide, tuition fees projected to increase by $290 million between 2020-2023.
– At UCalgary, tuition increases will range from $80-$2,000 per student annually, depending on their program, level and status.
This is the continued implementation of the tuition increase changes announced in Budget 2019.
Campus Mental Health – Commitment to maintain the total funding of $8.8 million for the AB Campus Mental Health Fund.
– Funding allocation between the 26 institutions seem to have shifted slightly.
– UCalgary funding will see a decrease of approx. $75,000.00 – No confirmation of funding beyond 2020-21
Under the previous 3-year agreement, UCalgary received $1 million annually for campus mental health programming and services  
Student Aid No new funding for either student aid grants or scholarships A 13% reduction is showed in the budget. However, the Ministry of Advanced Education says this is not a cut but reflects savings from the 1% increase in student loan interest rates.
Infrastructure Maintenance – Funding restored to 2018-2019 levels at $119 million, but no new funding provided.
– Funding commitment to capital projects maintained, including the MacKimmie Tower Redevelopment
Budget 2019 brought the funding to zero for the all of Alberta.  
Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Program A new stream to permanent residency post-graduation for international students. This will offer a “fast track” immigration for some international students
Other Government Departmental cuts – Other government departments (e.g: Health) will experience cuts.
– Research funding and educational opportunities provided to UCalgary by those departments will decrease
This represents additional cuts to UCalgary

What can students do?

On Campus

  • Get informed about the changes impacting you
    • Regularly visit the GSA website and social media to review content we share


  • Contact your MLA to tell them how the cuts to post-secondary funding will impact you, and your family. Determine who your MLA is here, and find their contact information here.

Get In Touch

Drop by the GSA office, or send us your thoughts on how these changes impact you. Your feedback will help us in our advocacy to the government, and UCalgary’s Board of Governors and senior Administrators.