CAUS Policy Papers

The Council of Alberta University Students strives to continually advocate on prevalent matters of accessibility and affordability in order to offer students in Alberta the highest quality of education. We work to consult, review, and improve our advocacy in ways that best impact as many students as possible.


Reconstructing Student Financial Aid in Alberta

Insufficient financial support coupled with the rapid increases in tuition over the last two decades have created a crisis of student debt in Alberta. Not only does the current system of student financial aid often provide insufficient funding for students, but the limitation of these programs prevent the most vulnerable students from accessing supports, thus reducing overall accessibility to post-secondary education across the province.

Read our paper to understand the current barriers regarding financial aid, the reality of student debt and borrowers, and an in-depth analysis of student financial aid systems across the country.


International student affordability, employment, and housing in alberta

Preventing Student Exploitation in Post-Secondary Education

International undergraduates studying in Alberta are subject to high-cost tuition, limited employment opportunities, and precarious housing. These students are enmeshed within an intricate policy web linking federal, provincial, and institutional jurisdictions, leading to a diffusion of responsibility among policy-makers. This leaves these undergraduates without serious action taken to address the issues they face. Alberta has seen large growth in the number of international students attending universities in the province, but that influx has been exploited rather than nourished.

CAUS encourages you to read the stories of international students and support our recommendations to encourage more of the worlds brightest to join us in Alberta.

Funding Frameworks

Funding Frameworks: understanding methods used to fund post-secondary education in Canada

February 21, 2014

The Government of Alberta is currently reviewing the funding framework for post-secondary institutions in our province. The funding framework is an allocation device used to distribute base or core funding, for which there are four general models used in distributing funding to university institutions: enrolment based funding, lump sum funding, output-based funding, and funding based on achieving contractual targets. Almost all provinces in Canada use more than one type of funding mechanism.

As part of our work as students in understanding the models that exist in their purest forms as well as what direction we would like to see the government proceed when reviewing the existing funding framework for Alberta post-secondary institutions CAUS has written a report titled Funding Frameworks – Understanding the methods used to finance PSE in Canada. If you are interested in reading the full report you can download it using the link at the bottom of this page.


Towards a representative post secondary community: Increasing access to alberta’s rural and indigenous communities

September 10, 2012

On June 4th, 2012, Premier Alison Redford released her mandate letter to cabinet ministers. Among the ambitious goals presented in the letter to all Ministers, is closing the participation gap between underrepresented groups in post-secondary. One way of achieving this impressive goal is through a new bursary program, announced during the last provincial election, aimed at rural and aboriginal students. The project would start in 2013/14 with $18 million and would gradually increment to $25 million by 2021/22. The goal of this paper is to look at how to best utilize the money from this new bursary. Specifically the questions are: Who gets to access the bursary? How to deliver it? And what’s the best form and size of the award?