Alberta abandons education savings grant

Grad and Mom

April Fool’s Day!  Except this news isn’t a joke.

Last week, the province told families that a program they created a decade ago – a program that was going to be a legacy for ‘Alberta’s students of tomorrow’ - was being cancelled.  The last newborn who will be allowed to benefit from the Alberta Education Savings Plan (ACES) will be born sometime before midnight on March 31st of this year; any baby born after will not be eligible to receive the $800 grant toward their education savings.  As the pioneers of education savings, the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation challenged this government to reconsider abandoning this investment in higher learning and instead bring the education and financial communities together to develop real solutions that benefit all.  We met with provincial leaders and proposed several cost effective alternatives to keep the grant alive. And we weren’t the only one to believe in this legacy, Alberta parents have been some of the most diligent savers in the country; ever since the conception of ACES, education savings in an RESP has climbed by an impressive 158 per cent.  Back then the province said it believed that investment in higher levels of learning generated more than financial returns; it contributed to a child’s future success, translating to economic prosperity, enhanced global competitiveness, and increased innovation.  Are these not the things that will help the province address its financial challenges?  Hard working families believed what they were told about a lasting legacy; it appears that sustaining that legacy for future generations of Albertans no longer matters.