Calgary’s Mount Royal University plans to cut enrolment over the next two years on top of the suspension of eight programs and the loss of dozens of staff.
According to a new report, the university plans to admit 462 fewer students by 2015 — from 8,140 full-time equivalents in the fall of 2013 to 7,678 in the fall of 2015.
Sabrine Koudmani, a third-year psychology student, said the changes are all starting to add up.
"Five hundred spots is a lot of spots, in addition to the ones they already cut. And if you want to get into a specialty program after that, it probably is even trickier," she said.
The province cut $147 million in funding to post-secondary institutions in its most recent budget.
Gerry Cross, president of the faculty association, said plans to drop enrolment stem from an older funding promise that never materialized.
"Mount Royal admitted students into five new degree programs and the provincial government had promised almost $18 million to fund the third and fourth years of those programs starting in 2010-2011," he said.
"The government did not provide that funding. So, as a result, the university had to reduce the intake quotas in those degrees and this created a bulge of students moving through the system and so the decrease is just the university adjusting back down to the number of students that were funded for."
While most students say reducing enrolment is worrying, business student Zach Forrest says it's better than the alternative.
"It makes sense to sort of cut the spots rather than take away what a lot of students appreciate about the small class sizes."
Mount Royal had to turn away 26 per cent of qualified applicants — or 2,864 people — in the fall of 2012. The university is facing a $14 million deficit and it doesn’t expect to be in the black until at least 2016.