U of R raises tuition, freezes salaries to 'minimize the effect of government funding cuts'

Tuition is going up, salaries will freeze and vacancies will not be filled -- the University of Regina released its 2017-2018 operating budget.

Prairie Association Research Collaboration program suspended, 'efficiencies' to be found in nursing program

U of R President Vianne Timmons will speak to media at 2 p.m. CST. (CBC News)

Tuition is going up again at the University of Regina. 

Tuition will increase by 2.5 per cent and the operating budget has been set at $216 million. Last year's operating budget was $214.9 million. 

Tuition has increased every year since 2008-2009. Those increases include:

  • 3.8 per cent in 2016.
  • 3.8 per cent in 2015.
  • 3.8 per cent in 2014.
  • 4.4 per cent in 2013. 

The university said in a media release the changes are as a result of nearly $7 million in cuts announced by the province since November 2016.

Nursing program changes

The U of R has made significant changes to its nursing program.

Previously, students could complete the entirety of their four year degree in Swift Current, Sask.

Students will now be required to take the first three years of the course in Regina or Saskatoon. 

The option to complete the fourth year in Swift Current remains.

The university said it will save $280,000 per year. 

Money coming and going

The university has invested $467,000 to backfill a 38 per cent cut by the province to the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship Program. 

It has also contributed $234,000 to student scholarships, for student athletes, graduate and refugee students.

The university will save $2.6 million because of a voluntary retirement plan implemented in 2014. 

Utility costs are being reduced by $229,000 due to "energy efficiency initiatives." 

The provincial sales tax increasing by one per cent will cost approximately $500,000 more per year plus the 3.5 per cent tax on new capital projects. 

Other changes 

Nineteen administrative and academic units will see reductions ranging from one per cent to five. The university's executive offices will see a five per cent reduction. 

Cuts include the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative, which saw academics in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta research climate change and its effects across the three provinces.

The position of executive director has been cut for PARC and more will come. 

The university said they're hoping that any positions cuts made are already vacant positions, but that will be determined once the budgets are finalized for each department.

Out-of-scope salaries will also be frozen.