ALBERTA

University Of Alberta Cuts: More Announced By Institute's President

08/23/2013 06:01 EDT | Updated 08/23/2013 07:09 EDT
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Major cuts are expected at the University of Alberta (UofA), an institution that faced a huge gap in funding from the provincial government's budget this year.

Suspension and closure of programs, lay-offs and a reduction in student enrollment are expected.

University president Indira Samarasekera said "major cuts" are expected and "every member of our community will feel the impact" in a letter to faculty, staff and students on Friday.

The university plans to reduce its academic expenses by an additional seven per cent and operation costs by eight per cent between 2014-2015.

It also plans to reduce expenses by two per cent each year after until 2017.

"We will continue to streamline administrative functions, reduce redundancies, and seek new or untapped sources of revenue," said Samarasekera.

"We will maintain our commitment to excellence and do all that we can to minimize the impact on student access and experience."

The announcement comes during the same week the institute announced it will be cutting 20 low-enrollment programs and a financial review by the Alberta government.

Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said the review was ordered to "help identify any potential gaps in fiscal planning for the institution," saying it was necessary to stay within the budget or there was no point of having one.

Several faculties have already experienced layoffs, program suspensions and position closures, said Samarasekera.

The cuts will have leave a negative impact for years to come, warned NDP's Advanced Education critic Rachel Notley.

“This government is forcing the UofA to close unique programs and turn away deserving students from going to school," she added.

The Alberta government slashed $147 million in funding to all post-secondary institutions in its provincial budget this year.

Samarasekera also said the university would be "unable to admit the full number of applicants who are well-qualified and well-prepared for success" at the institute.

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