UWinnipeg’s Board of Regents approves 2014-2015 operating budget

WINNIPEG, MB –The University of Winnipeg’s Board of Regents this evening approved an Operating Budget of $120 million for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. This year’s budget maintains UWinnipeg’s academic strength and faculty positions and assumes stable enrollment for domestic students, and strong growth for international students.

UWinnipeg currently has approximately 10,000 students. This budget reflects a 2.5% increase in the operating grant provided by the provincial government. Tuitions will go up 2.4% as mandated by the provincial government, amounting to $47 more annually for the average student. Tuition fees in Manitoba remain approximately 36% below the national average. The goal of UWinnipeg is to increase international student representation from 5 to 10% of the undergraduate student population over the next several years.

The operating budget is balanced through disciplined measures which include: aggressive vacancy management (delaying the hiring of staff for vacant positions, saving $3.6 million); introduction of larger classes; and administrative restructuring resulting in savings of $700,000 annually.

“The University of Winnipeg is an extraordinary downtown, community-based campus that offers a wide diversity of students unparalleled access to hands-on research, high quality academic programs, professors who know their names and new state-of-the art facilities,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “I am increasingly confident that our unique mission is valued by community stakeholders and the provincial government, and that our historic funding imbalance will be addressed. As I prepare to retire at the end of this month, I am proud that collectively the management team at UWinnipeg has laid the necessary financial foundation to provide stability and a smooth leadership transition.”

UWinnipeg is a lean operation that is doing more with less. In the past seven years, it has cut more than $12 million in annual expenses from its Operating Budget. Today UWinnipeg has the lowest expenditure per student of any university in Canada. UWinnipeg receives an average of $33.8 million less annually from the government than similarly-sized Canadian universities (for example, University of New Brunswick, Lakehead University, Trent University etc.) By comparison, Manitoba’s other universities are at or above the average per student of their peers. This ongoing imbalance in UWinnipeg’s funding formula goes back decades.

Premier Greg Selinger and Advanced Education Minister James Allum recently met with a delegation comprised of Dr. Axworthy, representatives from the UWinnipeg Faculty Association, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association and UWinnipeg’s Foundation.  They agreed to establish a working group of government officials and university representatives to examine the University’s funding situation.. This working group has met on several occasions and work is underway.

Additionally, UWinnipeg is assertively pursuing new revenue streams to fund campus activities including academic research – external research grants now exceed $7.5 million, an increase of 175% in the past decade. A new Future Fund to encourage campus innovation, on-line and experiential learning has raised $1.9 million since its inception last year. Private fundraising has allowed UWinnipeg to offer more student scholarships and bursaries particularly to support Indigenous and inner city youth, at just over $4 million annually, an increase of 112% in the past decade.  UWinnipeg’s revenue generating educational programs – Professional, Applied and Continuing Education (PACE), The Collegiate, and English Language Program (ELP) – are contributing $600,000 to the operating budget.

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 pension deficit of $2.5 million for 2014-15 which will be funded by provincial borrowing authority until a longer term solution for UWinnipeg’s finances are achieved.

The University’s budget process is a consultative one. The budget team meets with the Deans and departmental managers on campus as well as the Senate’s Budget Advisory Committee and other campus stakeholders to identify the most appropriate way to balance the budget. The senior financial team, including President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, meets with faculty councils to discuss budget priorities throughout the fall. The Board of Regents is responsible for reviewing and approving the final operating and capital budgets.

NOTE: 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 private fundraising which has attracted $217 million in funding for our campus and community projects in the past decade.

 

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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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