Frequently Asked Questions Operating Budget 2013-2014

Frequently Asked Questions – Operating Budget 2013-2014

June 24, 2013

Preamble: 

This document focuses primarily on the annual Operating Budget, approved by the Board of Regents on June 24, 2013.  The University of Winnipeg has four distinct potential pools of funds.

a)     The Operating Budget, which pays for salaries, benefits and day to day campus expenses. This budget comes from two main sources: tuition and fees, and an annual grant from the Province. We are growing a third stream of revenue from campus related businesses like housing, leasing space to third parties with complementary missions and developing commercialization activities.

b)    The Capital Budget, which pays for buildings, new construction and infrastructure.  These monies come from assertive fundraising and donations and grants from the private sector and governments and must be utilized for the purposes defined by the funder.

c)     Community Learning Budget, which pays for our innovative outreach programs including the Model School and Wii Chiiwaakanak Centre. These monies also come from assertive fundraising and donations and grants from the private sector, specific government programs and community foundations.

d)    The Research Budget, which funds the costs of faculty members pursuing specific research projects. Faculty members apply for and receive these monies come from external agencies. This is a growing source of funding at UWinnipeg which supports our academic mission but does not off-set the Operating budget.

  1. Why is The University of Winnipeg facing a continued crunch in the Operating Budget for 2013-2014?

The provincial government provides approximately 50% of the University’s operating revenues through a grant. Undergraduate and graduate student tuition and fees provide approximately 28% of the University’s operating revenues.

In 2011 the province committed to providing UWinnipeg and other Manitoba universities with a 5% increase in annual grants for three consecutive years. This March, UWinnipeg administration was informed the expected increase would be cut in half to 2.5%.

This means UWinnipeg had to find an additional $1.5 million dollar in savings for the coming year, above and beyond an already tight budget situation which has seen us trim $1.5 million from operating expenses recently.

  1. What other factors are contributing to the operating budget pressure?

The budget squeeze at UWinnipeg has been building over a number of years for three main reasons:

a) We receive a much smaller operating grant per student from the province than other Manitoba universities and other comparable Universities across the Country, which is exacerbated as a result of our increasing enrollments.

b) The University continues to deal with the impact of a significantly increased pension expense for its now closed Defined Benefit Plan resulting from changes to actuarial assumptions and the economic downturn of 2008.  The University is budgeting a deficit of $2 million for 2013-2014 related to the increased pension expense, down from $3 million in 2012-2013

c) The Province’s recent and current tuition fee policies have resulted in less funding for operations.

     3. How is UWinnipeg planning to meet the budget shortfall this year?

The University’s budget process is a consultative one. The budget team has met with the Deans and departmental managers on campus as well as the Senate’s Budget Advisory Committee to identify the most appropriate way to balance the budget.

As a result of this consultation we are taking the following steps to balance the operating budget for 2013-2014:

  • AGGRESSIVE VACANCY MANAGEMENT – a thorough examination of each vacant position is performed prior to positions being filled, resulting in many positions remaining vacant.  The University expects to save over $3.5 million in 2013-2014 as a result of Vacancy Management
  • STREAMLINING ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS – an administrative restructuring performed in the summer of 2012 resulted in savings of $400,000 for 2013-2014 and will provide further savings in future year. Additionally, salaries for the senior executive team are frozen for the third time in recent years
  • OTHER SAVINGS – the utilities budget has decreased by $180,000 annually as a result of energy efficiency retrofits. Nearly all discretionary funds have been removed from the budget

4. What other measures is UWinnipeg employing to augment the operating budget and bring more funding to campus?

We are focusing on increasing a third stream of revenue to cushion the operating budget shortfalls. In October 2013, we launched the Future Fund to strengthen and enhance our academic programs. The goal is to raise $15 million to support activities such as faculty research, nurturing of young faculty members, attracting distinguished lecturers and improving IT systems. Our Deans are playing a key role in identifying how we can best nurture and support a culture of innovation. To date we have attracted almost $1 million to the Future Fund, which is, for example, supporting our first Chair in Co-operative Enterprises in the Faculty of Business and Economics. A donation by Sun Life Financial to this fund is supporting a new Diabetes Awareness program for inner city youth coordinated through our Faculty of Kinesiology.

We also created a new entity called UWin Inc to enable us to develop commercialization activities on campus. This initiative is in its infancy and has promising revenue potential.

Our faculty members have also successfully pursued research grants at an accelerated rate, bringing new funds to campus. Research dollars are up from $4.4 million to $7.1 million in the last five years. That is a 60% increase in external research funding flowing through UWinnipeg.

UWinnipeg is committed to bringing a more entrepreneurial approach to funding all our activities and we will continue to build external partnerships to strengthen our academic mission.

5. Why does UWinnipeg receive a smaller annual grant from the province than other universities?

Our provincial grant in 2012 is equivalent to $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 without good reason. This discrepancy has been multiplied by the rapid enrollment growth at the University of Winnipeg over the past decade (55% increase) which was significantly higher than the other institutions. The Manitoba Government does not link operating grants to enrollment, unlike many other provinces.

The impact on us is substantial. The University has been working with the Provincial Government to address the inequality for several years, including a proposal to increase the University’s grant by $6 million over four years made in 2008. The Province provided the first $2 million of this plan, and had the remainder been received, UWinnipeg would have received an additional $8.5 million over the past four years, and our annual operating grant would have risen by $4 million annually for future years. However the “catch up” plan for UWinnipeg was halted by the Province in 2009.

6. What impact do all the new buildings at UWinnipeg have on the operating budget?

There is no negative impact. Building projects are funded from the Capital Budget, which is separate and distinct from the Operating Budget. The new buildings on campus are possible only because of assertive fundraising and generous donors.

Our successful and on-going fundraising effort has attracted $180 million in private/government donations to our campus and community since 2007. Our campus space has grown by 22%, adding 200,000 badly needed net square feet to campus. Even so, we have just 132 sq ft of space per student, placing us near the bottom of universities in Canada.

Costs associated with maintaining new facilities have been offset by provincial adjustments to our operating grant, by savings and/or new revenues. We reduced our leased space and we have increased campus revenues through retail and other community and commercial partnerships. The Buhler Centre is a prime example of this, where we reallocated monies being paid to a third party landlord to pay for the mortgage and operating costs of a building we own with a partner

7. What impact do the Community Outreach initiatives have on UWinnipeg’s operating budget?

Over the past five years, UWinnipeg has developed a holistic Community Learning mandate and we are proud to offer inner city youth athletic programs, computer classes and pow wow clubs, summer camps, homework clubs with nutritional snacks and much more. We are reaching thousands of youth annually who would not otherwise have access to high quality programs in this neighbourhood. These programs are free to participants.

Our Community Learning programs are funded separately by donors including Foundations, corporate and community partners, private individuals and specific government programs, which amounts to more than $750,000 annually. UWinnipeg contributes volunteers and student practicums as well as some faculty time (for example: Eco-Kids on Campus) to help support our Community Learning initiatives. These programs, complemented by the Opportunity Fund, have played a significant role in bringing University Students to our campus who would otherwise not be here.

We also assertively fundraise to support the Opportunity Fund which has raised $2.9 million since 2007. The Opportunity Fund gives non-traditional students in financial need access to fast-track bursaries. So far 1,158 students have received this help.

Additionally, UWinnipeg provides $3.2 million in annual scholarships and bursaries to assist students with their direct education costs – up from $1.9 million in 2004. That is a 67% increase. The University also administers more than $7.1 million in annual assistance from the Manitoba Student Aid Program.

8. What impact will the 2013-2014 operating budget have on UWinnipeg students?

All students enrolled in the University of Winnipeg will be able to take their required courses in order to graduate within their departments. Accommodating the needs of students is our number one budget priority. The 2013-2014 budget includes pilot programs in on-line learning, larger classes and experiential learning. The post- secondary sector is changing and the University is being proactive in ensuring we are able to provide a quality student experience within the new environment.  We are piloting new and innovative methods for delivering educational experiences and consistent with our proud history of putting students first, we will work with our students to ensure these changes work for them.

International business students will shift to a higher course fee structure at $1,384 per 3 credit hours, which remains among the lowest in Canada. The International Student Scholarships and Bursaries program will be strengthened by $25,000 to help individual students in need transition to the new fee structure By comparison, international business students pay $1,442.61 at the University of Manitoba and $1,954.35 at the University of Regina for 3 credit hours.

9. How does this year’s Operating Budget impact staff, professors and sessional instructors at UWinnipeg?

The University is committed to hiring 19 new faculty members in addition to 53 faculty members hired in the past two budget years. For the coming year, 12 new faculty will be hired, 7 new sessional instructors will be hired, and an additional 10 sessional instructors will be converted to permanent faculty.

Additionally, a $200,000 fund is available in this year’s budget to faculty members to support initiatives such as digital learning, academic partnerships, joint programs, co-op and internship opportunities.

 

 

 

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