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Portage College says budget will mean difficult times

A Lakeland school is saying the recent provincial budget may lead to job losses and service restrictions. Portage College sent out a press release on Friday after learning that post-secondary grants would be reduced in the 2020 UCP budget.

The Campus Alberta grant the school uses is said to be losing just over seven percent of its funding, amounting to about $1.6 million. Portage College President Nancy Broadbent says that loss of money could be dire for the school.

“The cut to the Campus Alberta Grant in 2020-21 of -7.1% is larger than we were planning. This level of a cut to Portage’s main source of funding is serious. We will have loss of jobs through attrition and layoffs, reductions in hours of service and program restructuring as well as changes to courses and class sizes.”

The provincial government also directed Portage and other schools to “Focus on administration and compensation adjustments first before front line services” before warning that “…no deficit or draw down on reserves will be approved by the Minister [of Advanced Education].”

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The Council of Post-Secondary Presidents of Alberta released a statement on the budget as well, saying in part:

“Throughout this challenging budget situation and complex change process, institutions will honour the academic commitments made to students. As we work together as a system with our faculty, staff, students, other stakeholders, and the Government of Alberta, we remain steadfastly committed to sustaining high-quality learning opportunities and providing a world-class post-secondary education system for Alberta.”

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