Written by: Tyler Hay – MyLethbridgeNow
Alberta has announced new affordability measures for post secondary students, including a cap on tuition increases. The change will take effect in the 2024-2025 academic year and will see domestic tuition increases capped at two per cent.
Interest rates for student loans will also be reduced to the prime rate, which is set by CIBC. Before this announcement, there was an additional one per cent for a floating loan and two for fixed on top. This can affect both new graduates and those still paying off loans.
The interest-free grace period for Alberta student loans will also be increased from six to 12 months and the income threshold for the Repayment Assistance Plan will rise to $40,000, from $25,000.
“We hope that today’s announcement marks a long term shift towards building a better future for all Albertans — a future in which our universities and colleges will play a key role,” said Council of Alberta University Students vice chair Matthew Yanish. “The cost of my own degree has gone up approximately 30 per cent over what it was when I first came to MacEwan and we have absolutely seen the current affordability crisis make things much worse. Is it enough? No but is it a step in the right direction, absolutely and is it a reflection of what we have asked for as student leaders, absolutely it is.”
The final measure the province announced today is an increase to its Alberta Student Grant by $225 per month for each eligible student during the 2022-23 loan year. Eligible students will be notified by Alberta Student Aid by March.
“High inflation has made life more expensive for all Albertans, including post-secondary students. These new measures will help all students deal with higher costs during these challenging times,” said Demetrios Nicolaides, minister of advanced education.
The changes to student loans are set to be effective as of July 1 2023.