Malaspina Board adopts balanced budget

June 2, 1998 - 5:00pm

The Malaspina University-College Board has adopted a balanced budget of $56,731,179 for the 1998/99 fiscal year.

The budget consists of:

  • $32,683,729 from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology for general operations and capital equipment--57% of the total budget.
  • $7,209,971 expected from student tuition and lab fees--13% of the total budget.
  • $11,800,000 estimated gross revenues from international education, business and industrial training contracts, temporary-funded courses, and special grants--21% of the total budget.
  • $3,482,832 expected gross revenue from ancillary operations (cafeteria and bookstore)--6% of the total budget.
  • $1,554,647 projected revenue from programs and services such as the hairdressing salon, trades programs shops, rental of facilities and application fees--3% of the total budget.

The total operating budget is $894,000 lower than last year and is the result of decreases in revenues and increases in operating expenditures, over which Malaspina has little or no control.

Increases in operating costs are due to provincially negotiated faculty and staff contract settlements; increases in employer contributions to Canada Pension Plan (CPP); increased janitorial costs for new buildings; on-going expenditures for the functions of health & safety and institutional research and planning; as well as expenses associated with a gender-neutral job evaluation for administrators, required by the provincial government through the Public Sector Employers Council (PSEC).

Last month Malaspina received funding for 100 additional FTEs (full-time equivalent) from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology.

"While our total operating budget is lower, compared to last year, we're pleased to have achieved a balanced budget for the next fiscal year," said Malaspina President Rich Johnston. "For the past six months we've examined our programs and services and made efficiencies where possible to ensure that we live within our means. We avoided a lay-off of a permanent employee through an early retirement. At the same time, new funding from the Ministry is allowing us to put on some new programs which will benefit our students."

Johnston said that he expects revenues from Malaspina's entrepreneurial activities to stay the same.

"We don't expect any major changes in revenues from our international education and business and industry training departments, although the mix may change from an emphasis on East Asian countries to Latin America and Europe, and a renewed focus on serving the B.C. industrial sector," Johnston said.

Earlier this year, Malaspina administrators were predicting a potential shortfall between $1.2 and $1.6-million and devised strategies to cut costs and increase revenues.

Unlike school districts, the B.C. College and Institute Act prohibits post-secondary institutions from planning for an operating budget deficit.

Edwin Deas, Vice-President of Administration and Bursar at Malaspina University-College, said that "in light of the current B.C. economic climate, the 1998/99 budget is good news."

"We're pleased with the extra funding provided by the Ministry to put on additional courses and programs, as well as maintain services for students," Deas said.

New courses and programs this year are:

  • third-year courses towards a Computing Science degree--students will complete their fourth year at the University of Victoria;
  • third-year courses of a new Bachelor of Tourism Management degree;
  • additional Bachelor of Arts courses;
  • additional Bachelor of Science courses;
  • 1-year Cook Training Certificate programs in association with the local school districts at the Powell River and Cowichan campuses (previously the programs were offered on temporary funding);
  • first year courses of a new 2-year Diploma in Information Technology and Applied Systems;
  • second year inter-disciplinary courses with First Nations content.

 

Deas said that three main factors contributed to a lower than expected shortfall.

"In the final analysis, our budget shortfall was lower than predicted earlier this year because we received Ministry funding for trades apprenticeships which had been in doubt; we received additional grants for equipment, prior learning assessment, and compensation for tuition losses as a result of the government's tuition fee freeze; in addition, our projected tuition fee loss due to cuts in courses and programs is not as great as previously anticipated in our budget planning process," Deas said.

"Not unlike a business, Malaspina is affected by many internal and external factors which have an impact on our budget," said Deas. "We're facing such factors as technology and its effect on education; increased demand for our degree programs; funding for our three regional campuses; adequate funding of services for students and maintaining our facilities. In addition, there are factors which are driven by our Ministry's strategic plan, such as changes to apprenticeship training; increased productivity; efficient utilization of our facilities; recognition of prior learning; key performance indicators; partnerships with business and industry; to name a few."

Deas said that he is not sure how the recently announced elimination of tuition fees for high school upgrading courses will affect Malaspina's budget.

"The announcement was great news for students, and we expect to hear in the coming weeks how the Ministry plans to implement this change," he said.

Glenn Johnston, Vice-President of Instruction, said that in order to balance the budget, 28 academic classes (out of more than 900 classes) were eliminated, while in some courses the total number of hours of instruction was reduced slightly. In addition, the 10-month Inboard/Outboard Marine & Small Engine Technician certificate program will have only one class, instead of two classes, because a retiring instructor will not be replaced.

"We've examined all our programs to determine how we can continue to meet our mission and goals," said Johnston. "We're preserving the core courses in all our programs, but, in some cases, we've had to reduce the number of electives," he said. "We're also continuing to monitor class efficiencies by ensuring that courses are fully enrolled."

Deas said that Malaspina's 1998/99 budget reflects the economic conditions in British Columbia.

"The 1998/99 budget is very much tentative and reflects an institution in transition, as we deal with a myriad of issues as a result of changing economic conditions," Deas said.


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