Daniel O'Brien

NSCAD University president Daniel O'Brien says the university is close to eliminating its deficit. (CBC)

NSCAD University announced Wednesday it is no longer having affiliation talks with Saint Mary's University and Dalhousie University.

The previous NDP government forced NSCAD to investigate collaboration talks with other institutions because of the university's financial woes. 

To help get the university's financial house in order, a tuition increase and spending freeze were implemented.

Extensive discussions were held with both Saint Mary's and Dalhousie, but an independent 18-month study concluded affiliation would not produce any savings in the short or medium term.

"They were unable to demonstrate any cost savings associated with affiliation, nor were they able to demonstrate that our efforts to seek collaborative programming and collaborative research would be necessarily enhanced or not enhanced by formal affiliation," said NSCAD president Daniel O'Brien.

While NSCAD is discontinuing formal affiliation talks, it will continue to speak with the other universities about collaboration on programming and research efforts.

NSCAD is projecting a deficit of $600,000 this year, while its debt sits at $10 million.

"We're in shooting distance of balancing the budget," said O'Brien.

In 2011, the university was facing a $2.4-million deficit and had $19 million in debt.

The university's financial position also improved recently thanks to a $3-million donation from the Fountain family.

O'Brien will soon be trading one challenging financial situation for another as he will become the president at the Atlantic School of Theology on August 5 for a period of one year.