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University budget

Update on 2018-19 university budget process

Campus and Community

By Memorial University

At its meeting today, Memorial’s Board of Regents approved the 2018-19 university budget as proposed by senior administration and presented to Senate earlier this week.

The budget is in line with the three-year framework approved by the board in May last year.

As per legislation, the university must balance its budget each year. For 2018-19 the approved budget (excluding the Faculty of Medicine) includes spending reductions to address the $5.1 million net grant reduction from the provincial Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, other revenue declines, unavoidable operating costs increases and inflation.

No new tuition, student fee increases

The approved budget does not include new tuition or student fee increases for 2018-19.

The university’s budget strategy includes saving $5.9 million in academic and administration portfolios and achieving a $3 million salary attrition target (as mandated in the 2016-17 provincial budget), as well as making strategic reinvestments in priority areas.

Many of these priorities were identified in the recommendations of the Integrated Planning Committee’s extensive budget consultations with the university community.

“This budget reflects reductions totaling $8.9 million – necessary to address decreased government funding, increases in unavoidable costs such as energy and IT security, other revenue declines and inflation,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic).

“The numbers work on paper in a budget document, but the real challenge is how they play out across the university. How will individual academic and administrative units cope with more reductions in their operating funds? They will work on their plans over the coming weeks and then we’ll have a clearer idea of the impacts of this significantly reduced operating budget.”

Some highlights include the following:

  • Some priority areas of spending, like library holdings, graduate fellowships, entrance scholarships, energy and taxes, are protected this year.
  • Funding for library holdings is increased by $484,840 to maintain current collections and cover inflation and fluctuating exchange rates.
  • Graduate fellowships base budget is increased by $2.29 million in 2018-19 to support and grow graduate programs, and funding for entrance scholarships is maintained at 2017-18 levels.
  • Revenue from the campus renewal ($2.29 million) and student services fees ($730,000) is allocated to the respective campuses for priority expenditures in deferred maintenance and student services.

Also of note:

  • Negotiations with unions and government to find a solution to the outstanding pension liability are ongoing. Early estimates have calculated the annual payment to cost between $6-$10 million. It is anticipated that this issue will not be resolved until late 2018 with implementation (and budget implications) in 2019.

The Faculty of Medicine is funded separately from the rest of the university by the provincial Department of Health and Community Services. Medicine’s 2018-19 budget was also approved by the Board of Regents today and does not include new tuition or student fee increases for 2018-19.

The full budget submission to the board can be viewed here.

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