Athabasca University, which is located north of Edmonton, says it is laying off 44 people at the institution because of cuts in provincial funding.

The board of governors passed a budget Friday for the next fiscal year that also eliminates 34 vacant positions and will see an additional 35 employees leaving voluntarily through the university's Career Transition Program.

The province cut the university's operating grants by seven per cent in the recent provincial budget. 

University officials say the cut translates to a revenue shortfall of roughly $3.7 million and that leaves the school with no choice but to cut jobs.

"We had counted, as had all the post-secondaries, on a two per cent increase in this year's operating grant as promised in last year's provincial budget," said Dr. Frits Pannekoek, president of Athabasca University.

"We were instead surprised with a deep cut and we have been left with no other choice than to eliminate positions."