Nova Scotia

SMU hikes tuition, cuts budgets

Saint Mary's University is raising tuition fees by three per cent and slashing department budgets by up to 10 per cent.

Saint Mary's University is raising tuition by three per cent — the maximum allowed — and slashing department budgets by up to 10 per cent.

The decision, announced Tuesday, comes as the university faces a funding cut from the province and a projected drop in enrolment.

Steve Proctor, a university spokesman, said no programs will be eliminated, but every department will be affected.

"Some of that will mean not filling positions that are currently vacant, some of it will mean more creative use of dollars, some of it will mean perhaps a little less professional development," he said.

Saint Mary's had a $3-million surplus last year, but Proctor said that money was swallowed up in this budget.

Last month, the cash-strapped Nova Scotia government said it was cutting funding to universities by four per cent, or about $14 million, in the 2011-12 academic year.

It also lifted a tuition freeze, but capped increases for undergraduate students by three per cent for each of the next three years.

Cory Tanaka, a business student at Saint Mary's, expects the tuition hike will be manageable.

"I can't see that really affecting me. I guess three per cent is a $100 or something. But I'm not too worried about $100," said Tanaka.

Student Jemma Rethman is more concerned about the program cuts.

"I think it sounds a little bit unreasonable. Ten per cent? That's quite a lot of money, especially since they're upping tuition," she said.

Dalhousie University is warning of tuition hikes and cuts too.

Dalhousie will need to reduce spending by 6.5 per cent in order to balance its own books, according to a university planning document.