University of Alberta posts $14 million deficit, blames tutition and funding

By on October 27, 2017

Coat of Arms of the University of Alberta (Photo by Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use)
Coat of Arms of the University of Alberta (Photo by Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use)

EDMONTON — The University of Alberta says it is running a multimillion-dollar budget deficit for the 2017-2018 year, and is planning budget cuts in the coming years to make up for the shortfall.

In a blog post, the university cited a multi-year tuition freeze and changes to provincial funding that have added up over time in their nearly $14 million budget deficit.

Spokesman Steve Drew says they’re not panicking but it’s important the matter be treated seriously.

He notes the operating budget is more than $1 billion, so the deficit represents 1.4 per cent of that.

For post-secondary institutions across the province, the Campus Alberta grant is the main funding source.

The government is looking at changes to the grant, but says the university has received more funding in the past three years: from $579 million in 2015 to $624 million this year.

“The universities are independent organizations and it’s up to them to allocate their money as they see fit,” said Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt.

“We are in the process of a tuition review and we will have more to say about the future of tuition in Alberta later this year.”

The university said it is planning four per cent budget cuts in the 2018-2019 budget year, followed by estimated 2.5 per cent reductions in the subsequent two years.

Dew told CTV News he hopes the quality of education won’t be impacted by the cuts, and he said the budget reductions will hit all faculties equally.