The Alberta Government is going with an outcomes-based approach with post-secondary funding which they hope will “increase transparency and accountability and help build a modern and diverse workforce for the future.”
According to a media release sent out by the province, currently the Government provides operational funding to 26 universities, colleges and polytechnics every year. Historically, this funding has not been tied to any targets or outcomes. While the government provides many different kinds of grants to post-secondary institutions, only operational funding through the Campus Alberta Grant will be tied to performance.
The release also said under the new funding model, a portion of government funding to colleges, universities and polytechnics will be based on achieving key performance measures. Performance measures will encourage institutions to improve services, increase efficiencies and create opportunities for Albertans through strong labour market outcomes and innovative programs and research.
“This is a new and completely transformative funding model for our universities, colleges and polytechnics. Our new approach will help ensure students are set up for success by encouraging institutions to produce job-ready graduates. 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,” said Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education.
In addition to tying public investment to results, the government is also transforming its relationship with post-secondary institutions by negotiating three-year funding agreements. Investment management agreements will include specific performance targets for each institution. They will also specify the government funding each institution will receive if they meet their performance targets.
The amount of funding tied to performance outcomes will begin at 15 per cent of operational funding for 2020-21 and gradually increase to a maximum of 40 per cent by 2022-23. A small number of performance measures will be introduced for the 2020-21 academic year, and more measures will be gradually introduced over the next three years to a total of about 15.
“Alberta’s post-secondary president’s welcome the opportunity to work with the Government of Alberta, our learners and other stakeholders in building a performance-based model that will enable us to achieve an overall vision for Alberta’s post-secondary system, that builds on the strengths and core mission of each institution, and that maximizes the quality of our learning and research environments so that learners and communities can reach their highest potential,” said Neil Fassina, president of the Council of Post-secondary Presidents of Alberta and president of Athabasca University.
The statement also said while performance measures will be finalized after discussions with post-secondary institutions, students and faculty, some examples may include: graduate employment rate, median graduate income, graduate skills and competencies, work-integrated learning opportunities, administrative expense ratio, sponsored research revenue and enrolment.