The head of a staff association representing academics at the University of Alberta are warning that entire programs, even faculties, could be on the chopping block to make up for multi-million dollar budget cuts.

Following this year’s provincial budget, the University of Alberta started the process of preparing for cuts that were coming in the future.

Back in March, the U of A started planning for a total $65 million decrease over two years.

The President of the Association of Academic Staff at the U of A said if the cuts this year are not felt at the university, next year – it will, because a number of people could lose their jobs.

“We could be looking at entire faculties closing, many programs closing,” AASUA President Donna Wilson said. “This is a rapid and major downsizing of the entire post-secondary system.”

It’s not just the U of A facing similar cuts; all 26 post-secondary institutions in Alberta are facing similar issues.

According to the AASUA, schools will have to choose between cutting staff and programs, or running a deficit.

As for the U of A, CTV News has learned they will run a deficit.

“We’re saving positions this year, we’re expecting a lot of people will leave, and next year will be the time when we have a lot more cuts,” Wilson said.

The Minister of Advanced Education said the picture isn’t as grim as some believe – saying Alberta’s post-secondary institutions receive some of the best funding in the country.

“I would be very surprised if any professors are actually seriously thinking of leaving any university in Alberta,” Minister Thomas Lukaszuk said. “Considering Alberta universities, even after this budget reduction, are the highest funded post-secondary institutions in Canada.”

The AASUA said a number of educators and researchers at the U of A are already looking at other places to go – and some are concerned students may not want to go to the University in the future.

With files from Brenna Rose