LETHBRIDGE: Staff at the University of Lethbridge are putting the final touches on plans for this year's budget - and the diagnosis isn't good.
The U of L is expecting a $2 million budget short-fall in the face of rising operating costs and no chance for extra money from the provincial government.
The university's vice president of finance and administration says she's feeling the strain - offering early retirement packages to some staff and not hiring replacements in some cases.
"Anytime you're short on staff you have to think of new and innovative ways of presenting the services," says Walker. "In particular we try and make sure our students don't realize there's been a change in the staffing."
The vice president says they're trying to keep their scissors away from current job positions, and rather have planned for the shortfall over the past years to trim budgets where they can. And there's no close end to the lean situation in sight.
"We have been told by the government that there will be a zero per cent grant increase, anticipate for the next three years after this," she says. "So we don't anticipate that things will get better."
But even with the budget squeeze, Walker says U of L policy and provincial law dictates tuition fees for the coming year won't increase more than $1.50 per course.