The Mystery That Is Alberta


Oh, Alberta Student Loan Relief, we hardly knew ye.

We get a lot of Alberta users on this site. So I've always felt bad that we didn't have more information for them on the only program that actually reduced (by a bit) their Alberta student loan debt.

The program was called Alberta Student Loan Relief.

We’ve had a few articles, of course, but why didn’t we have more details?

Dear Albertan readers, our lack of detailed information wasn't for lack of trying.

The Alberta government's website itself had minimal information. But in any case, we
aim to go deeper than government websites so do our own research. That means consulting officials who run the programs about the practical issues that government sites tend to skip over.

To that end, many phone calls and e-mails have been made over the years to various Alberta advanced education bureaucrats, trying to get some answers on Alberta's #1 loan aid program.

The answers we got were as follows:

1. No answer.

2. We will get back to you.

3. We prefer not to answer your questions.

No other government in Canada had actually refused to give official answers about how their taxpayer-funded programs work. To date, this has been an Alberta phenomenon.

Given the large number of Alberta users on the site, it has been frustrating. But we have had other work to do than to chase Alberta bureaucrats, trying to persuade them to communicate.

And soon, when it comes to Alberta Student Loan Relief, there won't be anything to talk about anyway.

Our searches on the ministry websites found only one small mention that loan remission (the type of program it was) will end in Alberta, to be replaced by a different form of aid. The logical end date would be July 31, 2012.

That Alberta website advises people to read the text of the upcoming Alberta budget for more details. But its link to that budget only shows brief budget highlights, with no further information. We found scant reference online to the end of Alberta Student Loan Relief, or what will replace it.

So then we went to the larger web. At writing (February 20, 2012) we found nothing further there.

In time, it may will be easier for citizens to get clear online information about the programs their taxes pay for. But at writing, this is how it stands.

Transparency, when it comes to Alberta, will be a lovely thing.