Tuition to increase at U of R; drastic measures last resort at U of S

The provincial government has slashed funding to post-secondary institutions, which will save $30.1 million.

Post-secondary base funding cut by 5 per cent, $30M slashed in budget

The Saskatchewan Student Aid Fund was reduced to $26.2 million from last year's $32.5 million. (CBC)

The Saskatchewan government will save $30.1 million in the upcoming year through a five per cent reduction to the base funding for the province's post-secondary institutions.

They will see $649 million in operating and capital funding during the year.

The government will reduce spending overall by 5.8 per cent, or $44 million, in the Ministry of Advanced Education. 

U of R will need to increase tuition: Timmons

University of Regina president Vianne Timmons said the five per cent cutback will just add to the challenges created by a one per cent cut in December. She said the size of the cut was a shock.

We will have to increase tuition but I'm committed to keeping the tuition increases reasonable.- Vianne Timmons, University of Regina president

"It's a huge number. It's millions and millions of dollars. So it will mean that we will lose positions — absolutely, there will be positions lost. Services for students potentially lost. We will have to look at everything we do," Timmons said.

"It will be a tough, tough year for us and tough to manage this, especially when growing," she said, adding that the combination of an increasing student population and the cuts is concerning.

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"We will have to increase tuition but I'm committed to keeping the tuition increases reasonable."

'Probably the largest single budget cut we've ever had': U of S president

University of Saskatchewan president Peter Stoicheff said any such measures would be a "last resort" for the school.

Stoicheff said the university knew it was going to be a tough budget with reductions coming.

"I can't side step the fact that a minus five [per cent in funding] is probably the largest single budget cut we've ever had in our history," Stoicheff said. 

Stoicheff said job and program losses would be a last resort scenario for the U of S. (CBC News)

He added the university will look at diversifying its revenue sources. 

"From our point of view, we are going to ensure things like position terminations, any effect on students and on the closure of popular academic programs, or any others, are going to be the very, very last things we're looking at to do," Stoicheff said. 

On tuition, he said: ​"We want to allow students of any means to be able to access university."

More education changes

The province has redirected $69 million of the University of Saskatchewan's base funding to the College of Medicine.

Personal income tax credits for education and tuition expenses were also eliminated with the budget, along with the Employee Pool Tax Credit. 

Scholarship funding is down to $12.5 million from $14.3 million. Saskatchewan student aid funding has been reduced by more than $6 million, down to $26.2 million from $32.5 million the year before. 

The Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings will be suspended January 1, 2018.

Income tax credits for the province's Graduate Retention Program will remain as they are, at a maximum of $20,000 for a four-year undergraduate degree.