University budget balanced for 21st year in a row

News Release Release Date: May 6, 2015 9:00 a.m.

The University of Regina released its 2015-16 budget today, marking the 21st consecutive year that the University’s operating budget has been balanced.

“Our University is proud of the role we play in promoting student success, producing research that has real world impact, and helping our communities connect and build a stronger future together,” said Lee Elliott, Chair of the University of Regina Board of Governors. “This budget balances those priorities, making strategic investments that advance the mission identified in our new strategic plan, while recognizing the need to be a fiscally sustainable institution.”

The total operating budget for the University in 2015-16 is just over $207 million.  Highlights of the budget include:

•    $1.45 million increase to the provincial operating grant, plus an additional $150,000 from the Province to expand the Master’s of Nursing program for nurse practitioners.
•    $1.23 million increase in financial support for undergraduate and graduate students, including $550,000 directed to PhD students and $640,000 from the Province for the continued rollout of the Saskatchewan Advantage scholarship to fourth year undergraduate students.
•    Universities Canada has matched a $500,000 investment by the University for 40 graduate students to study at partner institutions in Commonwealth Countries, as well as opportunities for 12 students from partner institutions abroad to study at the University of Regina.
•    $1.1 million investment for various research initiatives, including nearly $500,000 to support a project in the Faculty of Science co-funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.
•    A new academic position and a new academic advisor position in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
•    A new Director of Alumni Relations and Community Outreach position and an ongoing investment to make the Executive Lead-Indigenization a base budgeted position.  

Tuition and student fees will remain below the national average, with an average increase of 3.6 percent. This increase keeps the University of Regina in the top third of the 59 English-language Universities in Canada in terms of affordability for students. In addition, 61 percent of new tuition revenue generated in 2015-16 will go directly back to students in the form of increases for financial support at both the undergraduate and graduate level. This is a reflection of the continued emphasis on direct financial support, with the University ranking second in Canada among comprehensive Universities in total financial support available as a percentage of tuition and fees.

Current fiscal pressures also required the University to find efficiencies. The Voluntary Incentive Plan for Retirement offered last fiscal year will yield an estimated $1.1 million in savings in 2015-16 through the elimination of positions vacated as a result of retirements in 2014. A freeze on the economic adjustment for senior out-of-scope staff in 2015-16 is also part of the efficiency measures being taken. In addition, another $2.15 million in savings has been identified in academic and administrative units across the University through the elimination of currently vacant positions and the reduction of discretionary spending.

“Our University has experienced significant enrolment growth in recent years, reaching record levels and attracting increasing numbers of international and aboriginal students,” said President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Vianne Timmons. “Although we were required to make some very tough decisions in this budget, I am confident that the investments made will enable us to continue to make progress on the priorities identified in our new strategic plan.”


- 30 -