Nfld. & Labrador

Memorial University tries to 'minimize impact' of budget cuts

Memorial University says it is studying the impact of the provincial budget and will consult with staff and students, before bringing down its own spending plan on May 19.

Consultations underway with students, staff

Memorial University took a hit in the 2016-17 provincial budget and now has to decide how it will handle that without creating too much pain for students and staff.

Memorial University says it is studying the impact of the provincial budget and will consult with staff and students, before bringing down its own spending plan on May 19.

"Above all, our overriding focus will be to minimize the impact on students and academic programming," said MUN president Gary Kachanoski in a news release Monday.

The university is getting $8.3 million less from the province in 2016-17 for its base operating expenses, and $3 million less for salaries.

There is also zero funding, Kachanoski said, for classroom infrastructure renewal and deferred maintenance, and no money for a pension special payment.

Kachanoski said the university has also been given notice of more cuts over the next three years, cuts that he said will mean $24.9 million less annual funding for the university by 2019-20.

The budget included an additional $4 million dollar grant in lieu of tuition, and while Advanced Education and Skills Minister Gerry Bryne said he 'expects' a tuition freeze to continue for students, Finance Minister Cathy Bennett has said MUN will have to make its own decision.

Consultations began Monday with the Senate budget and planning committee and the students' union.

Meetings will also be held with various employee unions, the university's Board of Regents and the pensions committee.