On Campus

First Nations University closer to surviving

Feds to restore another $4m to keep university open for another year

First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) can afford to keep its doors open for at least another year, after the federal government announced today that it would give the embattled school $4 million in transitional funding.

The future of the university had been uncertain, after both Ottawa and the Saskatchewan government removed funding earlier this year over ongoing governance problems. The institution had been plagued for years by allegations of misused funds, fraud, and political interference from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

However, in March the Saskatchewan government restored funding to FNUC after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed that would see the institution’s finances controlled by the University of Regina. The U of R was already responsible for granting degrees to FNUC graduates. The five-year deal will see $5 million in provincial funds flow to a national accounting firm during the first year of the agreement. During the remaining four years, the money will go to the U of R, who will then distribute it to FNUC.

The arrangement with the U of R was key for the restoration of federal money, as was the appointment of an independent board of governors, and a “sustainable” fiscal plan. Distributed through the Indian Studies Support Program, federal funding will carry the school through March 31 2011. Previously, $3million was restored so that students could finish the school year, which ends in August.

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