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Job layoffs and tuition increases possible as Sask. post-secondary schools deal with budget cuts

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WATCH ABOVE: Funding cuts continue in post-secondary education. Job layoffs and tuition are expected to increase. Christa Dao has more on how students will have to cope – Mar 24, 2017

Post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan are looking at all options as they consider how to deal with cuts to their base funding.

On Wednesday, the budget revealed that funding to all provincial post-secondary schools will be slashed by five per cent.

READ MORE: Provincial budget sees cuts to Regina libraries, U of R funding

The province estimates it will save them $30.1 million. For the University of Regina (U of R), it’s a $6-million shortfall that will likely result in tuition increases.

“The shortfall was quite significant… it was five per cent of just the operating budget, and so we’ve got a month now to see how we’re going to take and address this and it’s not going to be easy,” U of R administration vice-president Dave Button said

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“It will be hard to avoid a tuition increase, but that is something that we will be working hard to try to minimize as much as we can.”

The university is also looking to mitigate job layoffs through vacancy management.

Button said they’re preparing a board meeting for May 1 to prepare some recommendations for the board.

The U of R’s Student Union (URSU) president Jermain McKenzie said desperation is at an all-time high, and the budget was out of touch with students.

“I’m trying to understand why the government is acting in such an arrogant fashion,” McKenzie said.

“It’s really like the government lives in an alternate reality. They don’t understand the struggles that people are faced with.”

READ MORE: Sask. budget brings significant changes to school division funding and decision-making

U of R student Parker Peterson said it’s getting more difficult as a student, and he expects he’ll have to get another job to deal with the costs.

“It’s going to be a big harder to pay for the costs of tuition, and top that with textbooks, it’s going to be tougher,” Peterson said.

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“We can’t really afford a whole bunch of cuts, we’re kind of struggling.”

Overall, the Ministry of Advanced Education spending is down $44 million, or 5.8 per cent from last year.

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