Things are looking up for college
President hopes funds, enrolment increase

Malcolm Gorrill
Northern News Services

Fort Smith (May 08/00) - Cuts in funding have hurt Aurora College, but things are looking better as the 1999-2000 year winds down.

That was the message Aurora president Maurice Evans sent in an interview with News/North, following the graduation ceremonies at Thebacha Campus in Fort Smith.

"Some of our graduating classes were a bit smaller this year because we didn't have some of the regular classes graduating," Evans said.

"For instance, in Thebacha we had a small class in NRTP (Natural Resources Technology Program) because, basically, we just had a first year intake this year," he said.

"Last year we didn't have a first year intake, so we didn't have graduates this year, other than a couple who were picking up the odd course and finishing."

Evans said alternate intakes (holding only the first year of a course one year and then holding only the second part the next year) was one measure Aurora decided upon to deal with a cut in funding from the government a few years ago.

"We cut primarily from services before we looked at programs," Evans explained.

"It's a mixed picture. We understand as a college we had to do our part to help the government deal with the debt," the president said.

"At one point there may have been some excess within the college system, but we firmly believe today that doesn't exist."

Evans said the situation has improved.

"Overall I'd have to say we're pleased with the level of support the government has shown to the college recently, and the commitments they have made to try to maintain that level.

"So I'm optimistic that while our numbers have generally improved somewhat, they will continue to improve," Evans said.

"There's no absolute certainty on next year, but the signals we're getting are they would like to continue to support us at our existing levels."