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GPRC operating grant cuts “significant”: CEO Murray

The President of Grande Prairie Regional College believes the school is on the right path towards a more self-sustaining operating budget, but admits the approximately $2.3 million cut from their 2021 provincial funding is a significant drop.

Dr. Robert Murray says they’ve been well aware for several years that cuts to the Campus Alberta Grant, which is the school’s primary operating grant, but the 5.6 per cent was higher than expected.

“Which means by the spring of 2022, GPRC will have taken about an 18.5 or 18.6 [per cent] reduction,” he says. “We are under no illusions in the sense knowing that we have a very difficult task ahead of us to be able to evaluate our operations.”

In 2020, the board of directors cut $8 million and 85 jobs from the school’s budget in reaction to the 13 per cent reduction in its Campus Alberta Grant, as well as costs related to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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Dr. Murray says that, at a recent board meeting, officials approved another seven per cent increase to tuition, which includes fee increases. Murray says they’re not easy decisions to make, but argues they are needed.

“I think what’s important to us is to keep pace with the altered fiscal reality; we are going to have to make those decisions around tuition. Even with tuition, it’s not nearly enough to offset [the loss of funding]… so it really does still require good planning and thinking about what the future of the institution is going to be.”

Dr. Murray believes the 5GPRC strategy that was launched in the fall set the tone for a shift in annual school operating budgets they continue operating the facility and the future of the institution. He suggests it’s going to serve as a powerful planning tool that will allow them to acclimatize to whatever fiscal changes come over the horizon.

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