By Karlie Mickanuik
MacEwan University announced that it will be laying off staff members to meet the $17 million cut to their operating budget for the current fiscal year from the provincial government’s budget.
President of MacEwan, Jon McGrath released a statement.
“With these levels of reductions to our funding, we will have to reduce our staff levels,” said Jon McGrath, president of MacEwan. “There is simply no way to meet these targets.”
There has been no comment on how many staff members will be laid off or what departments will be affected, but the cuts are coming. The cuts to staff will make up for some of the lost money, but the fear of rising tuition is a significant concern for many students who attend the university.
The tuition freeze is lifted after five years. This will allow schools to be able to charge students up to seven per cent more per year over the next three years. MacEwan administration stated they do not want to raise tuition, but in order to meet the significant drop in their operating budget there is a strong possibility tuition increases will come.
Emily Taylor, a first year economics student, is concerned about the quality of her education with the impending loss of instructors.
“I think the budget cuts are horrible because professors will inevitably get fired and student tuition is going to raise by at least four or five percent for the next three years,” said Taylor.
She is concerned about the upcoming costs to education and the sacrifices she is expecting to make. Taylor said she is hoping it won’t be necessary, but may look into getting a part time job.
“Work during the school year will cut into study time and inevitably lower my grades,” said Taylor.
Currently Taylor does not rely on student loans to pay for tuition but she fears her savings will not be enough anymore with the increase to tuition supposedly coming.
Liam Powers-Kelly, a first year music student, is also concerned about needing more income to pay for his education.
“The increase of tuition will likely force me to work part time during the school year,” said Powers-Kelly.
“Inevitably leaving less time for my learning experience. Working while maintaining a decent grade average in full time school can make the educational experience feel rushed and insignificant.”
Powers-Kelly already thinks education is too expensive and believes cutting teachers is not ideal.
“In all of history, when has cutting teachers ever been a smart move? Do we want to be a more educated population or less? Teachers should be taken seriously and paid better,” said Powers-Kelly.
The MacEwan Students’ Association partnered with the University of Alberta Students’ Union and marched to the legislature on Monday Nov. 18 in protest of the budget cuts coming to post-secondary education.