First Nations University gets $4M lifeline
The federal government will give financially strapped First Nations University of Canada another $4 million, relieving concerns that the Regina-based university could close.
Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said Wednesday the money will cover the period from Sept. 1 to March 31, 2011, which is the end of the fiscal year.
Strahl announced earlier this year that the Indian Affairs Department was cutting its entire $7 million grant to FNUC, citing concerns that the university had serious problems and wasn't fixing them fast enough.
However, in March, after a deal was struck that put the University of Regina in charge of FNUC's finances, Strahl restored $3 million through the Indian Studies Support Program.
That money, along with the $4 million announced Wednesday, will flow to FNUC through the U of R, the federal government said.
Strahl said he wouldn't be making the announcement if he didn't think FNUC had a future. But the university will have to meet a set of conditions to continue to get money, he said.
"They have many milestones to reach."
In recent weeks, some students and faculty have expressed fears the university could close altogether.
Officials with FNUC said they were exploring options to deal with a cash crunch, including laying off staff and closing programs.
But students who've been lobbying Ottawa to restore the money were feeling relief Wednesday.
"What we're been fighting for for the last six months is paying off today," student leader Cadmus Delorme said.
First Nations University has about 800 students at its main campus in Regina and satellite campuses in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.