Queen’s is developing their 2019-20 academic year budget—despite an expected $31.4 million drop in revenue.
On Jan. 17, the provincial government announced impending tuition cuts, changes to OSAP, and the creation of the Student Choice Initiative. The provincial government has also pledged to lower tuition fees at post-secondary institutions by 10 per cent for domestic students enrolled in funding-eligible programs.
The fees will remain at the reduced level for the following year.
Earlier this week, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris explained how the cuts will impact Queen’s in an email to The Journal.
“The cuts to tuition fees will have a significant impact on the operating budgets of post-secondary institutions in Ontario, including Queen’s,” Harris said.
While the specifics of the changes are currently unknown, tuition makes up approximately 38 per cent of the annual operating revenue for Queen’s.
During the 2018-19 academic year, the University’s total operating revenue was $638 million, with $244.4 million coming from domestic student tuition fees subject to the cuts—an expected loss of $24.4 million.
The University was expecting a three per cent increase in domestic tuition fees as per the tuition fee cap established by the previous Liberal administration in December of 2016. Without the projected increase, Queen’s will lose a further $7 million in tuition-based revenue.
Overall, Queen’s will experience a total reduction in operating revenues of $31.4 million in the 2019-20 academic year.
In the following year, the reduction will increase by an additional $7 million as a result of the tuition freeze.
Principal Daniel Woolf requested that Harris, through the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Budget, provide “multi-year response” options for the University to tackle this financial challenge by the end of February.
Harris said the University can’t “cut its way to excellence,” and will seek collaborative options that align with the University’s long-term goals.
“Throughout the budget planning process, we will remain focused on our core academic mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service to our communities,” Harris said.
The University currently offers financial support to students in need, and plans to adapt their assistance programs to accommodate for changes made to OSAP so the institution remains financially accessible.
Queen’s is also in the process of organizing a new fundraising endeavor to increase available funds for student assistance programs. No details have been released at the time of publication.
More information about the restructuring of OSAP is expected in the coming weeks.
“Various strategies for revenue generation and cost reductions are being explored to help the university adjust to this reduction in revenue,” Harris said. “Further information will be shared with the Queen’s community once we have identified a path forward.”
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