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More student seats

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Both the University of Calgary and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology are poised to add new student spaces, thanks to recent provincial funding announcements.

Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock was at SAIT Mon. Sept. 19, to announce a $2 million donation that will enable the technical school to begin the construction of a new Trades and Technology Complex.

"The Trades and Technology Complex will make SAIT state of the art," said Hancock. "This new funding will increase capacity and allow students to pursue studies in the trades."

Both Hancock and SAIT President Irene Lewis stressed the importance of trade sector development and emphasized the advantage of student-industry partnerships.

"It's an exciting time for post-secondary education," said Hancock. "Post-secondary education is the government's top priority. We need the opportunities to go forward and each project is in accordance with its plan."

His comments came after another recent grant from the province to the U of C which will add another 168 student seats to various programs.

"Our request was for expansion and sampling of programs," said Dr. Robert Woodrow of the University of Calgary. "Four of them were funded: the Biological Sciences program, the Chemistry program, the Bachelor of Arts program in International Indigenous Studies and more seats in the Bachelor of Commerce program were added."

In total, the U of C received $1.3 million in Program Operations Grant funding, which will aid in setting up various programs, as well as $348,000 in Facilities Operations Grant funding, aimed at central costs such as power, building costs, and capital costs.

Although both grants are an example of the capital funding projects by the province, the U of C faces the additional challenge of hastily incorporating the new seats to allow students to take advantage of the programs this semester.

"It's going to be a real rush," stated Woodrow. "Faculties wanted to get the results as soon as possible and I imagine the faculties involved are taking extraordinary measures to integrate and prepare for the coming semester."

Thus far, the province has allocated approximately $614 million for the capital funding of various post-secondary institutions. The initial Fast Track funding commitment has already made about $10 million available to post-secondary education.

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