Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2008 Federal Budget through a grad student lense

Here are some 2008 Federal Budget key points for graduate students:

Canadian Graduate Scholarship: Creation of 500 $50,000 scholarships for top PhD students--both Canadian and international
250 $6,000 scholarships to help Canadian graduate students study abroad for one semester
$80 million increase for granting agencies

For the profs, but these funds often support grad student funding: 20 new Canada Research Chairs worth $10 mill over 7 years each
$15 million for the indirect costs of research. Also--project specific funding including the synchrotron at U Saskatchewan. And the Genome project. I love the synchrotron, although I don't know what it does, it sounds cool!!!

For the undergrads: a new grants program replaces the Millenium Scholarship Program with income contingent grants that are more predictable.

<----- This is the synchrotron.

This article from The Fulcrum is a good summary of key criticisms of the new budget's agenda on post-secondary education.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has issued a press release in reaction to the buget announcement (below) which details concerns about targetting research money.

Attention News/Education Editors:
Federal budget: little on offer for post-secondary education

OTTAWA, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Association of University
Teachers (CAUT) says today's budget lacks any coherent vision for
post-secondary education and research.
CAUT executive director Jim Turk says that aside from the creation of the
Canada Student Grant Program, the budget ignores the most pressing needs of
universities and colleges.
"The new grant program announced today is a step in the right direction,
but by simply consolidating money from existing programs it means there's no
real new support for students in the current year."
Turk emphasizes that the government is providing no new money for
post-secondary education through the Canada Social Transfer, funding that
would have allowed universities and colleges to make education more affordable
and ensure that staff and students have access to labs, library resources and
other facilities.
The budget announces the creation of a small program for 500 Canadian and
international students. Named after Georges Vanier, the Canada Graduate
Scholarships will provide up to $50,000 a year for no more than three years.
"While we welcome the new program, we can't ignore the fact that there is
otherwise no increase in funding for Canada's hundreds of thousands of
undergraduate students in this budget," Turk says. "The budget fails to deal
with the real problem: the need for more core funding."
The budget proposes a modest increase in federal funding for the indirect
costs of university research. There are also small increases for the federal
granting agencies, but the new money is heavily targeted to priority areas set
by the government.
"We appreciate the new research funding, but we're extremely concerned
that the federal government is increasingly targeting research funding rather
than allowing the priorities to be established by the research community,"
Turk says.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 57,000 academic and general staff
in universities and colleges across the country.

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