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The Canadian government has slashed its funding to the University of the Arctic from 710.000 to 150.000. Subsequently Canada will lose the office it hosted at the University of Saskatchewan, which was staffed by UArctic’s dean of undergraduate studies, Hayley Hesseln.

Since UArctic’s launch in 2001, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development had contributed more than $4 million a year to UArctic – money that went, among other things, to develop its undergraduate circumpolar studies program, now offered through Nunavut Arctic College.

Hesseln said the flow of money stopped when territorial governments expressed interest in pursuing their own institutions, and the vision of what a northern university should be.

“We’ve reached a point where the federal government is interested in funding the University of the Arctic, but the territories want to do their own thing,” she said according to Nunatsiaq Online.

The result is that Canada will have little say in the UArctic network’s curriculum development, she said, while Canadian students will have a more difficult time accessing its programs, offered through 33 Canadian universities.

Founded in 2001, the network now boasts 121 institutions, 33 of them Canadian. UArctic has had more than 10,000 registrations for its courses since 2002, said Hesseln.

“You have a lot of aboriginal students in the North and they don’t do as well when they come to a large southern institution. They will be more successful taking these courses online in their own communities.”

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