The Algoma University Board of Governors approved a balanced operating budget of $29.1 million for the 2016-17 academic year at their April 28th meeting. This represents a 5 percent decline in the size of the operating budget compared to last year.
“Our mandate throughout the budgeting process was to put students first. We are confident that the actions taken to achieve a balanced budget will have a minimal impact on the student experience at Algoma University.” said Algoma University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Craig Chamberlin. “Students can be assured that the quality of our academic programs have not been compromised.”
Despite the challenging fiscal environment the University was able to make investments in key areas including the establishment of an innovation fund to support program development, the addition of significant scholarships for domestic and international students, as well as increased funding for student medical and counselling services. The budget also provides funding for new recruitment and retention initiatives aimed at increasing future enrollments.
The University was able to achieve a balanced budget by reducing costs across departments. Regrettably, these reductions will result in a decrease in the size of the employee base at the University. The decrease in the budget and subsequent reduction in staff is due to an expected decline in enrollment which is due in part to shifting demographics in the north. As a result, staffing is being right-sized to the funding allocated for the enrollment projected for the fall. The quality and quantity of academic programs offered at the University will not be impacted by the cost saving measures.
The Board of Governors approved tuition increases of 3 percent for domestic students and 3 percent for international students. Algoma University’s domestic and international tuition rates remain amongst the lowest in Ontario.
“We feel that producing a balanced budget is critical to the long term viability of the University,” said Vice-President Finance and Administration Sean Dwyer. “Unfortunately, after exploring all options we felt that the only way to achieve a balanced budget without compromising the quality of the academic and student experience was by reducing the size of the employee base. It was a very difficult decision, not one that was made without serious consideration of alternatives. A balanced budget is a necessity and offers more flexibility to take advantage of opportunities that arise that contribute to the overall success of the institution.”