Board of Trustees approves 2017-18 budget

Planned tuition and enrolment increases allow for revenue growth

Grant Hall.
Supplied by Wikipedia

At their meeting on May 13, the Board of Trustees approved the university’s operating budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, along with projections for 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The 2017-18 operating budget predicts revenues totaling $555.2 million, and addresses challenges such as the university’s ongoing pension plan deficit.

A number of significant spending increases were revealed in the budget. These were largely made possible due to supplementary revenue generated by the university’s steadily increasing enrolment and tuition rates, which accounts for approximately 94 per cent of their total revenue yearly.

According to the Senate-approved enrolment report submitted to the Senate Committee on Academic Development in February of this year, budgetedtotal enrolment is expected to increase from 6,896 first year students to 7,379 as of this fall.

In addition, the university will be applying a number of tuition increases over the next couple of years, ranging from as little as an increase of one per cent to as much as five per cent for some programs.

Tuition in both the Faculty of Law and the School of Computing within the Faculty of Arts and Science will see a five per cent increase in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Law students will pay $19,247 in 2017-18 compared to $18,330 last year, while computing students will pay $6,769 in 2017-18 compared to $6,447 in the previous year.

These and other increases will allow for significant budget growth in some areas, including faculty and school allocations, which will receive an additional $20.3 million in 2017-18 compared to 2016-17.

The university’s infrastructure renewal budget will also see a significant increase next year, rising from $4.9 million in 2016-17 to $6.6 million in 2017-18.

Student aid will experience a $700,000 decrease, lowering from a budget of $31.6 million in 2016-17 to that of $30.9 million in 2017-18.

The $700,000 is taken directly from a category listed in the budget as “Need-Based and UG [Undergraduate] Merit Student Assistance.”

According to the university’s financial assistance webpage, this category essentially accounts for automatic grades-based admission scholarships and other merit-based awards offered to successful applicants, along with bursaries provided to students “whose families are lacking sufficient financial resources.”

According to the budget report, the student aid budget decrease comes as a result of the findings of a financial aid task force formed in 2015-16. 

Anticipated changes to OSAP in 2018-19 led the task force to expect increases in the Student Access Guarantee (SAG). 

The SAG requires publicly funded Ontario universities “to provide enough financial aid to cover a student’s assessed needs for expenses directly related to his or her program, including books, tuition and mandatory fees, that are not fully met by OSAP,” according to the OSAP website.

The budget’s decrease in financial aid is thus reflective of this expected increase in provincial funding.


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