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Alberta post-secondary schools hold meetings after budget cuts

By Admin User on November 15, 2019

The University of Alberta hosted a forum Wednesday to address the uncertainty surrounding provincial budget cuts. Advanced education was one of the hardest-hit departments in last week’s provincial budget.

President David Turpin spoke to staff and students about the impacts of the budget and what steps will be taken.

“We will not act reflexively, we need to think this through,” said Turpin. “It would be unrealistic to assume that reduction like this aren’t going to involve some dislocation, I need to be clear and I think everyone recognizes that.”

The University’s Campus Alberta Grant was cut by $44 million, or 6.9 per cent cut. Its Infrastructure Maintenance Program was also eliminated.

“We have already cancelled about 10 million dollars in infrastructure contracts. So that big cut that we’ve got in infrastructure, we’ve been able to back that off quite a bit,” said David Turpin University of Alberta President.

Staff and students also had the opportunity to ask Turpin questions and voice their frustrations.

“I understand we have to make choices but I feel like students feel like we are bearing the brunt of these cuts,” said Katie Kidd, Education Student.

The province lifted the tuition freeze in the budget, that has been in place since 2014. This allows schools to increase tuition up to seven per cent in each of the next three years.

Turpin promised no knee-jerk decisions but he didn’t rule out a tuition hike, higher enrolment rates or job cuts. The U of A is expecting to have a detailed financial plan in November. It has also launched a new website with budget information. Students can also use it to submit questions and suggestions to the school during the budget process.

NAIT staff also discussed domestic tuition at a forum earlier in the week.

“Our approach to domestic tuition, we still have some work to do to investigate what that will look like in future years,” said NAIT Registrar, Jennifer Crothers.

NAIT received a cutback of $11,543,851 or 5.1 per cent for this fiscal year. That number includes a 2.6 per cent cut in the Campus Alberta Grant. As well, a 5.1 per cent cut to Apprenticeship Technical Training Grant and the elimination of the Infrastructure Maintenance Program.

Nobody from NAIT would offer further comments on the budget and its impacts. NAITSA however, isn’t staying quiet, saying students should not have to pay the price to cover the cuts.

“NAITSA along with many other post secondaries were invited to a conversation with the minister of advanced education and the minister stated that he expected the institution to find cutbacks with administration prior to trying to increase tuition to students,” said NAITSA VP External, Aleksandra Jaruga.

NAIT says it will reveal more in the coming weeks.



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