The provincial budget came with bad news for Saskatchewan’s universities.
All post-secondary institutions were handed a five per cent funding cut.
The University of Saskatchewan also saw a portion of its base operating grant diverted to the school’s College of Medicine.
U of S president Peter Stoicheff wrote in a media release Wednesday the total reduction for the school works out to 5.6 per cent.
He said it’s the largest one-time budget cut in the school’s 110-year history.
“We have been preparing for a substantial budget reduction for many weeks. Even so, today’s budget is deeply troubling to the U of S, and to the people we serve throughout Saskatchewan,” he wrote.
Stoicheff noted the U of S has managed to save when times have been good, but the provincial cuts will force the school to draw down some of its reserves.
He wrote that continued cuts could ultimately cost the province more than it saves.
“In 2014, about $1.2 billion of Saskatchewan’s economy was tied to the U of S. Continued reductions to our university will jeopardize the long-term economic future of our province.”
Stoicheff noted while the province is the school’s biggest single source of funding, they do have other means of raising money.
“The people of this province deserve to have one of Canada’s top universities, and we will not be deterred by this budget; we are determined, as a community, that it will neither define us nor diminish us.”
U of R looks for ways to save
University of Regina president Vianne Timmons said the institution will have to make changes following the cuts to funding.
“Five per cent is over $5 million for the University of Regina – and that’s after we had a one per cent cut in December,” Timmons said Wednesday.
The president noted the university doesn’t have a reserve fund, adding that’s “never been a way we’ve managed budget.”
Instead, Timmons said the U of R will need to look at saving in a variety of ways, adding there’s no way job reductions alone will fill the hole.
“All of it won’t be done with positions. We’ll have to look at programs, services,” she said.