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Nova Scotia universities will have their budgets cut a further three per cent in 2013. (CBC)

Nova Scotia universities are facing further budget cuts of up to three per cent in 2013, CBC News has learned.

Universities were told months ago to plan for another $10 million budget cut next year, the government said Monday.

 It's part of a plan that will see university grants reduced by 10 per cent over three years.

Last week, the provincial government announced a three-year memorandum of understanding with university presidents.

The province's 11 universities will get a grant of $324 million for 2012-13 — three per cent less than they received for this academic year.

Jeff Conrad, acting deputy minister for advanced education, said Monday that universities have been asked to plan for another cut from zero to three per cent in 2013.  

"We said to them last fall that we're thinking of somewhere in the 10 per cent range, so four [per cent] in the first year, three [per cent] in the year coming, and in the year after, somewhere in the zero to three per cent range is probably where they should have their mind set, somewhere to start to think about the challenge that might be before them," he said.

The government has committed to let universities know by December if it will, in fact, cut budgets again next year and by how much.

Mark Coffin, excutive director of the Alliance of the Nova Scotia Student Associations, said the further budget cut will likely translate into higher tuitions for students.

"If the universities are operating on that assumption, they're going to be looking for every area possible to collect more money from students to make up the difference between what money they might lose from government and the money they need to run the university," he said.