At least 45 jobs are at risk at Moray UHI as the college faces redundancies as part of huge budget cuts to balance the books.
It is understood talks took place this week between management, unions and workforce representatives about the proposals.
Strike action was held last year amidst concerns about the sector being underfunded across the country.
Proposals have now been tabled that could lead to the equivalent of 45 full-time jobs being lost to save money by July.
The number of redundancies proposed represents about a quarter of the total workforce at Moray UHI.
Union EIS says the move could impact even more people if they are on part-time contracts.
Redundancies due to ‘declining funding and college enrolments’
Staff were briefed about the financial situation when they returned to work last week following the Christmas break.
Principal David Patterson shared information from a Scottish Funding Council report that forecasts 20% of staff nationwide will have to leave the sector.
The report outlines a financial crunch caused by a “real term reduction” in funding from the Scottish Government as well as reducing tuition fees and enrolments and higher staff and energy costs.
He told the Press and Journal proposals shared with staff aim to “maximise the positive impact” Moray UHI can still make in the community while making “necessary” job cuts.
He added: “We would hope to be able to share more of our plans with our wider community in the near future.”
Last year an Audit Scotland report found there had been an 8.5% real-terms reduction in funding for colleges.
Students have voiced support for the work staff do in supporting education as the cost-saving plans have been drawn up.
What happens next at Moray UHI?
Further talks are due to take place with Moray UHI’s joint consultative committee, which comprises management, unions and workforce representatives.
It is understood the initial proposals would involve the equivalent of 25 full-time lecturers and 20 support staff.
Union EIS told the Press and Journal they were unable to discuss the proposals until talks have progressed further.
Catriona McBain, secretary of the Moray EIS-FELA branch, added: “If Moray College cannot get the money to make severances then they will in effect be insolvent in July.
“All of this has been deliberately engineered by the Scottish Government.”
The Scottish Government has stressed it remains committed to colleges despite its own “unprecedented financial challenges”.
It says it is working with the sector to continue to provide opportunities to meet Scotland’s needs.