September 1, 2013 1:24 pm

Alberta universities facing big budget cuts

Province cuts 147 million dollars from post secondary education.

Global News

CALGARY- Students heading back to school may notice a few changes this year.

The province has cut $147 million from post secondary education and that means universities in Alberta have had to adapt.

Most universities have cut programs. The University of Calgary is managing the drop in funding dollars, by accepting 200 fewer students to its arts program.

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Robert Sutherland, a professor at the University  of Lethbridge, who is also the president of the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations , says the cuts are unprecedented in the province’s history. He says not one university across Alberta has cut its budget by the full amount required by the government.

“We’re only just starting,” he says. “There will be many more announcements going forward over the remainder of this year, and perhaps next year, as the full effect of the budget reduction plays out”.

Sutherland says schools have worked to minimize the damage caused by the funding cuts and he says students probably won’t notice a huge difference in their day to day life on campus.

The University of Calgary will host town hall meetings across campus this fall to plan for additional cuts they will have to make in the coming year.

The advanced education minister says Alberta’s post secondary system is the second highest funded in the country.

Thomas Lukaszuk says post secondary education has been a priority for Albertans, but future funding has to be sustainable. He says there are competing interests like health care, social services and kindergarten to Grade 12 education that also put demands on the provincial budget.

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