The president of the University of Calgary says she was caught off guard by the deep cuts to advanced education announced in the Alberta budget.

Operational grants for Alberta colleges and universities are being slashed by about $147 million for the next year — almost seven per cent.

University of Calgary president Elizabeth Cannon told CBC News the university was expecting a two per cent increase for each of the next three years.

"We had looked at various scenarios but … not ones this deep," she said. "So we’re going to have to go back to our stakeholders and sharpen our pencils."

Cannon said the university will work with student leaders as officials explore how to absorb the cuts.

"It’s too early for us to give specifics on what it’s going to mean in terms of options for courses and class sizes and services for students," she said.

New tuition hikes are not being considered, Cannon said.

"From our side it’s not an option. In Alberta, tuition is regulated," she said.

 The province said Thursday there will only be cost of living adjustments for post-secondary tuition.

A tuition increase of 2.15 per cent is already slated to take effect this fall, along with higher student fees.

In response to a suggestion from Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk that there is duplication of programs among Alberta universities that could be eliminated, Cannon said the province must take responsibility for that.

"If there’s duplication in the system, yes, we’ve got our part to do. But I think government’s got its part to do on the process side, because they are the ones that have allowed a lot of these various programs to proliferate," she said.