U of A receives $48.3M in provincial funding to expand enrolment in high-demand programs

Funding will allow for 2,000 more students in the next three years, closer to the university's 2025 enrolment goal of 50,000.

U of A president Bill Flanagan

A young and well-educated population is vital to renewing and diversifying Alberta’s economy and building tomorrow’s workforce, says U of A President Bill Flanagan. (Photo: Dawn Graves)

With a focus on high-demand programs to meet Alberta’s emerging labour market needs, the provincial government has announced an investment of $48.3 million in the University of Alberta.

The funding is part of the $171-million Targeted Enrolment Expansion program for post-secondary institutions, announced in February during the unveiling of the 2022-23 provincial budget.

U of A President Bill Flanagan says the new funding will help address pent-up demand for U of A programs, allowing the university to grow from 42,000 students to 44,000 in the next three years. The U of A’s goal is to meet the needs of 50,000 students in five years.

A young and well-educated population is vital to renewing and diversifying Alberta’s economy and building tomorrow’s workforce, Flanagan adds.

“This funding represents a bold investment in our province’s economic future — as well as an investment in the potential of Alberta’s young people and the renewal and growth of the province’s vital post-secondary institutions,” he says. 

“Expanding enrolment in the University of Alberta’s high-demand business, engineering, science and nursing programs ensures Alberta’s talented high school graduates have the opportunity to further their education right here at home at one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities.”

The money will allow the university to bring on roughly 80 new professors in programs that include bachelor of science, bachelor and master of science in engineering, bachelor of commerce, and bachelor of science in nursing, he says.

Joining Flanagan at the Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex for the announcement Friday were the leaders of Concordia University, MacEwan University, NAIT and NorQuest, as well as Demetrios Nicolaides, Alberta’s minister of advanced education.

“The Alberta at Work initiative is focused on addressing structural unemployment issues in our province,” says Nicolaides. 

“Creating hundreds more seats for early learning and child care, among other fields, means giving students more opportunities to pursue a career in a field where we need skilled, dedicated workers. This investment bolsters our post-secondary system, benefits students, families and our communities.” 

The Targeted Enrolment Expansion program falls under Alberta at Work, a three-year, $605-million initiative by the provincial government intended to help Albertans gain in-demand skills to support economic growth and attract investment.

The expansion of the Alberta at Work initiative comes at a critical time in the University of Alberta for Tomorrow strategic transformation. Admission applications have increased by 25 per cent in the past six years and are projected to grow by an additional 20 per cent in the next six years. 

“With this new funding, more talented students will benefit from the U of A’s highly sought-after learning experiences as we continue to advance our core mission of teaching, research and community engagement,” says Flanagan.