UWinnipeg makes tough choices as provincial funding stagnates

Operating Budget preserves academics, eliminates $3.7 million in costs

2017-2018 Operating Budget Primer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2017

WINNIPEG, MB – Last night, The University of Winnipeg’s Board of Regents approved an operating budget for 2017-2018 which preserves academic excellence and student supports while eliminating $3.7 million in costs in order to achieve a balanced budget as required by provincial legislation.

The new cost reductions are in addition to years of belt-tightening. UWinnipeg is one of the most efficient universities in the country. Over the past decade, UWinnipeg has demonstrated fiscal prudence, streamlining administrative operations and cutting more than $16 million in annual expenses from its operating budget. Additionally, since July 1, 2016, UWinnipeg has eliminated 15% of senior management positions.

Historical imbalance

UWinnipeg receives a much smaller annual operating grant per student from the province than any other Manitoba university. The University of Manitoba and Brandon University receive operating grants almost double that received by UWinnipeg. This disparity goes back decades and requires UWinnipeg to operate with $42 to $57 million less in revenue per year.  

Ongoing requests by UWinnipeg for “catch up” funding were heard with the Manitoba government agreeing to phase it in. We received a special $1.5 million grant for 2016-2017, but no additional catch up grant for 2017-2018. UWinnipeg continues to operate with a significant funding gap.

For this fiscal year, the government of Manitoba has frozen post-secondary operating grants, provided no “catch up” grant specific to UWinnipeg, and limited tuition increases to 1.3% (this equates to approximately $63 more for the year for the average UWinnipeg student.)

The considerable gap between revenues and expenses necessitates tough choices. In order to preserve academic excellence and front-line student services to the best of our ability, UWinnipeg has elected not to reduce expenses across the board, but rather, to take a targeted approach that aligns with its Strategic Directions and priorities as approved by the Board of Regents.

Providing a 2017-18 balanced operating budget

UWinnipeg is undertaking the following measures:
Personnel:

·         Management restructuring has eliminated 4.5 senior positions which will remain vacant

·         Dean of Science, Dean of Kinesiology and Director of Global College positions will be filled by internal candidates on an acting basis for fiscal year

·         New tenure track faculty hires are extremely limited, resulting in approximately five fewer faculty positions compared to last year

·         Salaries for non-unionized staff frozen for 2017 and 2018 (approx. 100 positions), including senior executive team

·         Voluntary Days Without Pay program for staff provides $120,000 in payroll savings

·         Numerous support staff positions will remain vacant this year in order to achieve budgeted targets

Athletic restructuring

UWinnipeg remains committed to the outstanding Wesmen teams with deep history in our community.  In recent years new sports teams have been added to the roster which are no longer fiscally sustainable. UWinnipeg has initiated a resettlement process with student athletes impacted by this restructuring.  Effective spring 2017, UWinnipeg is eliminating the following:

·         Men’s baseball; Men’s wrestling

·         Women’s wrestling

·         Men’s soccer – on pause for 2017-18. The coach position is currently vacant and we cannot afford to replace that position for the upcoming fiscal year

The following Wesmen teams remain intact:

·         Men’s basketball

·         Men’s volleyball

·         Women’s basketball

·         Women’s volleyball

·         Women’s soccer

Preserving academic excellence

Despite the significant challenges posed by the provincial grant allocation, UWinnipeg continues to make strategic investments in budget 2017-18 to strengthen teaching, research and student success, including:

·         Creation of a teaching hub to support teaching resources and pedagogy (replacing the Centre for Teaching and Learning Technology)

·         Increased support for Indigenous students with financial need through an enhanced partnership with Indspire

·         Maintaining library acquisitions following a 15% increase in library budget last year

·         Strengthening a diversified revenue stream with increased contributions to the operating budget from the Collegiate, English Language Program and Professional, Applied and Continuing Education division.

UWinnipeg is a nimble and resilient organization with outstanding teaching and research faculty, and dedicated front-line staff. We will continue to challenge and nurture the next generation of Manitoba leaders.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

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

 

 

                                     

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