2018 brought big changes to Grande Prairie Regional College. That’s according to Mayor Bill Given who considers the school receiving degree-granting status one of the high points of 2018. He says it was a long time coming and believes it is needed to finally convert the college into a university.
“Our Community has been asking for a long time to see a path forward for the college to ultimately become a university. The announcement in February that the government was providing degree-granting status is the next step along that journey.”
Back in February, Education Minister Marlin Schmidt announced that the college would be given the ability to allow students to finish their schooling in Grande Prairie. The move also puts the college on track to become a Polytechnic University.
A 2016 poll found that 70 per cent of students would stay in the city if they could get their degree here. Given hopes the change will help make that possible.
“It’s really well known that once people leave the north or Grande Prairie or northern Alberta to go away for education, our chances of getting them back are slim. Our community has lobbied for a long time to say we need every possible opportunity to keep our young people at home.”
While it is not known when the first degree will be handed out, the college says it could take two to three years before people will be able to enroll in a degree program.