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Budget aims to minimize the effect of government funding cuts on students

News Release Release Date: May 5, 2017 8:30 a.m.

The University of Regina released its 2017-18 budget today, balancing its operating budget for the 23rd consecutive year. The budget includes significant reductions aimed at addressing the shortfall created by cuts to post-secondary education funding recently announced by the Government of Saskatchewan.

Since November 2016, the Province has announced nearly $7 million in cuts to the University of Regina and created additional cost pressures such as an estimated $500,000 annual increase in operating costs due to provincial sales tax (PST) changes. Efforts to address this shortfall include:

•    Reductions ranging from one to five percent across 19 administrative and academic units, including a five percent reduction to the University’s Executive offices.
•    Freezing salaries of out-of-scope staff in 2017/18;
•    Suspending operations at the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative; and
•    Creating efficiencies in the delivery of the nursing program.

Additionally, the University will not backfill cuts to provincial funding that flow through it to the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and the Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery.

Government cuts come at a time of significant enrolment growth, with the University experiencing a 25 a percent increase in students since 2009. This budget aims to support students by making modest reinvestments to mitigate as much as possible the effects of government cuts. For example:

•    $467,000 to backfill a 38 percent cut by the Province to the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program;
•    $234,000 in additional funds available for student scholarships, including additional support for student-athletes, graduate students and refugee students.

While tuition will increase by 2.5 percent, this increase is the lowest percentage increase since 2008-09.

“Our aim in this budget was to minimize the effect of government funding cuts. We looked at how to best support our students and made decisions to keep tuition increases low and reinvest funds into scholarships,” said Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Unfortunately, as we work with our various academic and administrative units to implement their respective budgets, we know there will be more tough choices to make – ones that may reduce programming and student services on campus.”

Implementation of the budget reductions to academic and administrative units will take place over the coming weeks, with the aim in all cases to minimize any negative effect on students. The goal is to prioritize the elimination of vacant positions, wherever possible. Given the scope of the Provincial funding cuts, certain programs, services and positions will inevitably be negatively affected.  

The University’s comprehensive budget plan for 2017-18 can be found here: www.uregina.ca/orp/budget/budget-plan.html

Backgrounder – Key Facts:

•    The University’s operational budget for 2017-18 is $216 million.
•    Changes to the PST will cost the University approximately an additional $500,000 annually plus 3.5 percent on all new capital projects.
•    80 percent of library acquisitions are in U.S. dollars. The weak Canadian dollar, combined with annual inflation on these acquisitions of approximately six percent, is creating significant sustainability issues for the University’s library.
•    Tuition remains below the national average; the University ranks 21 out of 59 of English Universities in Canada for affordability.
•    The University ranks second nationally in student financial support as a percentage of tuition.
•    University of Regina graduates experience the best employment outcomes of all post-secondary graduates in Saskatchewan.
•    The University has positioned itself to navigate fiscal challenges by pursuing important revenue and efficiency initiatives in recent years, including:
o    A 122 percent increase in international students since 2009, raising the international student tuition revenue from $5.9 million to $24.6 million;
o    Saving $2.6 million as a result of the Voluntary Incentive Program for Retirement undertaken in 2014;
o    Saving a projected $4.3 million over 10 years from a print optimization initiative launched in 2010; and
o    Saving an estimated $229,000 annually as a result of energy efficiency initiatives that reduce the University’s utility costs despite the expanded square footage of the campus with the two new residence towers recently completed.

 

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