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University of Regina students grapple with tuition increases, budget cuts

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WATCH ABOVE: $7 million in reduced funding by the provincial government has forced the University of Regina to make some serious cuts to their staff and services – May 8, 2017

Reduced funding of $7 million by the provincial government has forced the University of Regina to make some serious cuts to their staff and services.

Student Union president Jermain McKenzie says students are also feeling the impact of the cuts.

“The government or the university administration don’t live with those realities — they’re just looking at the cold raw numbers. But I have to live with the experiences and the emotions these students show, when they come in here and realize that the investment that they made here could be under threat because of another increase,” McKenzie said.

READ MORE: U of R raises tuition once again in 2017-2018 budget

McKenzie worries a two-and-a-half per cent increase to tuition will lead to international students being forced to stop their studies at the U of R.

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“I have international students in their fourth year, just in a complete panic. They’ve already invested upwards of $60,000 in their education here, and they just know their parents can’t afford another increase,” McKenzie said.

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

This isn’t the only challenge students will face from the cuts.

“There will be bigger class sizes, there will just be less services generally. One of our research centres will be closing, the university club on campus will be closing because we couldn’t afford to keep subsidizing it,” University of Regina president Vianne Timmons said.

Timmons says the university has the highest employment success rate of all post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan, but the recent budget could negatively impact that status.

“Over the last nine years, the university has really grown and it has changed. This has the potential — my job is to minimize that — but the potential to put us backwards,” Timmons said.

McKenzie hopes this is a wake-up call for the government and university.

“A public discussion needs to take place about the role the university has with the economy, for society — I think that discussion has to take place,” McKenzie said.

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