The province’s advanced education minister is disputing claims from a former politician that NAIT officials have been told to prepare for a major funding cut.

Thomas Lukaszuk tweeted Monday “…administrators report to me that you met with them today and informed them (in confidence) that they are slated for a $38 million budget cut.”

The tweet also suggested a similar message was communicated to the University of Alberta.

Lukaszuk is a former PC cabinet minister, who held several portfolios.

Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides denied the warning was issued, telling CTV News Edmonton, “It’s completely false.”

In statements, both NAIT and the U of A agreed with the province that no such meeting took place.

However, the province is hinting that some level of funding cuts may be on the way.

The recent Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s Finances found Alberta spends more per student on post-secondary education than British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

The panel was commissioned by the government to find efficiencies leading up to the provincial budget. It was chaired by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon.

On colleges and universities, the group’s report recommended, in part, “less reliance on government grants, more funding from tuition and alternative revenue sources.”

Nicolaides said the government has not made final budget decisions, but will consider the advice.

He told CTV News Edmonton, “We're looking through that to help use the information within the MacKinnon Panel report to inform our budgetary decisions.”