Mount Royal University (MRU) has officially approved program suspensions and a student services fee in response to Alberta's funding cuts to post-secondary institutions.

Suspended programs:

  • University Transfer – Engineering
  • Theatre Arts Diploma
  • Music Performance Diploma
  • Disability Studies Diploma
  • Forensic Studies Certificate
  • Journalism Certificate
  • Advanced Studies in Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing Certificate
  • Studies in Aging Certificate

The board of governors approved the 2013-2014 budget on Monday night, absorbing a $6.5 million cut to its provincial operating grant.

"This has been a difficult process and one that has resulted in changes that will be felt across all aspects of our campus and in the broader community," said Mount Royal president David Docherty in a release.

"In making these decisions, Mount Royal tried to minimize the impact on the student experience."

Students will have to pay a student services fee this fall, which the school says will raise $2.2 million in annual revenues.

There will also be a series of cuts:

  • The suspension of eight academic programs.
  • $3 million cuts to administrative support.
  • Freezing executive salaries.
  • Offering staff voluntary "furlough days" and reducing benefits coverage.
  • Eliminating 63 full-time jobs, of which 29 were already vacant.
  • $4.5 million in reduced institutional costs, such as amortization savings.

The school said it is also generating revenue by increased activity in residence services and recreation, and through expanded programming at the Conservatory and in Continuing Education.

MRU officials had been expecting a two per cent increase to the university’s operating grant this year before the provincial budget came down in March.

Instead the university found it had to plug a $14-million hole because of an existing operating deficit and a 7.3 per cent cut to its provincial post-secondary operating grant.

The funding problems prompted protests on campus last month.

MRU spokesperson Paula Arab says the finalized budget will now go to Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk for approval.