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Degree-granting status at GPRC still high on list of priorities: Advanced Education Minister

Alberta’s Advanced Education Minister says allowing Grande Prairie Regional College students to finish their degree closer to home is still a top priority.

Demetrios Nicolaides was in the city on Tuesday as part of an 18 stop tour of colleges and universities across the province. He says giving students the choice of getting a degree here is what he’s been hearing about most from staff.

“I think one of the important concerns comes back to degree programs and programming more generally to ensure that the institution is able to offer the degree programs that the community and the region need and is looking for.”

In February 2018, then Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt announced that the college would be given degree-granting status, a move that would also put it on track to becoming a Polytechnic University.

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Nicolaides says the United Conservative Party plans to continue working towards that goal.

“Our government has been very clear about our desire to connect education with jobs in a stronger manner and ensure that our post-secondary institutions and our programs are really responsive to labour market needs and demands. I’m really looking forward to working with them to ensure that we’re able to do that.”

Nicolaides says it’s too far out to say when exactly the first degree could be handed out as he says there’s still a number of reviews the college would need to go through first.

The college said previously that it could take two to three years before people will be able to enroll in a degree program.

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