Board Approves 2012-2013 Operating Budget

Budget increases student scholarships and bursaries

Budget increases student scholarships and bursaries

WINNIPEG, MB -The University of Winnipeg’s Board of Regents last night approved an operating budget of $110 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. This year’s budget preserves academic strengths with 22 faculty hires, provides new investment in campus information technologies, increases student scholarships and bursaries and makes provisions for faculty initiatives in on-line and experiential learning.

The 2012-2013 budget assumes enrollment growth of 1% for both local and international students and incorporates UWinnipeg’s provincially-mandated increase of 5% on the operating grant and 2.8% increase in student tuitions. In developing the budget, the University has focused cost-saving initiatives in areas that minimize the impact on student services while maintaining academic integrity and small class sizes.

An average full-time UWinnipeg student in 2012-2013 will see tuition and ancillary fees increase by less than $100 annually. Manitoba remains one of the most affordable places in Canada to attend university.

“”Achieving an operating budget that strengthens academic units and enhances student services has been challenging,”said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “”This was a collaborative effort based on extensive consultations with our Senate, deans, faculty members and students who provided invaluable input. In the past decade our student enrollment has grown by 55%, more than double the rate of growth at other Manitoba universities, as we proactively and successfully attract students of all backgrounds to UWinnipeg. This is an accomplishment in adding to the participation rate of Manitobans in high education. It also brings with it unique challenges and responsibilities.””

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

  •  Information technology is changing dramatically. The influx of handheld devices, tablets and other wireless devices — as well as the changing ways we engage students both in and outside the classroom — has significantly increased the demands on stressed IT infrastructure. The 2012-2013 budget allocates $400,000 towards upgrading the campus IT network to support increased demands.

  • The 2012-2013 budget increases the University’s investment in student scholarships and bursaries by $80,000. UWinnipeg currently provides $3.2 million in annual scholarships and bursaries to assist students — up from $1.9 million in 2004, a 67% increase.

  • A new fund of $50,000 will encourage professors to expand online teaching and experiential learning.

  • The 2012-2013 budget invests $50,000 in expansion of the co-op programs in the Faculty of Business and Economics. This program will lead to future job opportunities planned in other programs, offering students more opportunities to engage with the broader community.

  • The 2012-2013 budget maintains the University’s commitment of $250,000 available to faculty for research opportunities, which has enabled a variety of research initiatives to be conducted while at the same time allowing researchers to build their portfolios. In 2011-2012 this $250,000 was complemented with supplemental funding of $33,228 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant, $156,500 contributed by the Research Office, and $426,500 contributed for Research Start-Up Grants by the Vice-President (Academic) Office, for a total of $866,288.
  • Plans are underway for an operational review to begin early in 2012-2013 which will identify additional areas of efficiency, and ways to further use resources more effectively.

TOTAL OF 22 FACULTY POSITIONS ADDED

The 2012-2013 budget strengthens academic units by committing to hiring 11 tenure track professors and 11 term instructors, for a total of 22 new hires, with the majority in the Faculty of Arts. (This is in addition to 31 faculty positions approved in last year’s budget).

TENURE TRACK: TOTAL OF 11 POSITIONS

Faculty of Arts: 5 positions

(Psychology, Religion and Culture, Classics, English, Criminal Justice)

Faculty of Business and Economics: 3 positions

(Business and Administration (2), Economics)

Faculty of Science: 3 positions

(Geography (2), Chemistry)

TERM INSTRUCTORS: TOTAL OF 11 POSITIONS

Faculty of Arts: 9 positions
(History (2), Theatre & Film (2), Sociology (2), Rhetoric, Classics, Philosophy,

Faculty of Kinesiology: 1 position

Faculty of Business and Economics: 1 position

FISCAL CHALLENGES

Our provincial grant in 2010 was the equivalent of $6,500 per student, where Brandon University and the University of Manitoba each received $12,000 per student. This is a discrepancy that goes back decades.

Unlike many other jurisdictions, in Manitoba there is no link between operating grants provided to Universities and enrollment. So as the number of students attending UWinnipeg grows, so too does the funding gap.

In addition, we must honour significant pension commitments resulting from changes in actuarial assumptions and decisions made by past administrations. UWinnipeg’s pension expenses have increased approximately $3 million over last year. The 2012-2013 operating budget balances before inclusion of the pension expense and we are working with the Council on Post-Secondary Education (COPSE) to implement a plan to deal with this increased expense.

Salary expenses have also increased by $3.5 million over last year as per collective agreements.

In order to meet our fiscal responsibilities, this year’s budget further expanded UWinnipeg’s aggressive vacancy management beyond $4 million.

CONCLUSION

UWinnipeg’s building projects are funded from the capital budget, which is separate and distinct from the operating budget. New buildings on campus are possible only because of generous donors and assertive fundraising. Costs associated with maintaining new facilities have been offset by savings and new revenues. We no longer lease expensive space around the city and we have increased campus revenues through retail and other community and commercial partnerships. We also received a provincial grant adjustment to offset operation of the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex.

The University’s successful capital campaign, which concluded in September 2011, attracted $130 million in private and government donations to our campus and community. New construction has added 200,000 net square feet of badly-needed space to campus. Even so, UWinnipeg has just 132 sq ft of space per student, placing us near the bottom of universities in Canada.

The University of Winnipeg is unique amongst Manitoba universities: our inner-city location presents both challenges and opportunities. In reaching out and becoming a positive agent in the community, the University has a positive social impact, but also incurs costs not borne by other institutions. These values — and a commitment to community learning and sustainability — are embedded in the structure of the University. While additional funding provided by the Province and a modest tuition increase are positives, rationalizing expenditures and strategic investments are required to assure improved financial health into the future.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca

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