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May 19, 2004
Provincial budget released, U of G funding still unclear
Ontario’s universities — including U of G — are still waiting for details from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities about how the 2004 provincial budget will affect their funding.
The budget, which was unveiled Tuesday, included some funding for enrolment growth and confirmation of compensation for the tuition freeze. But amounts for individual universities are still unknown, so U of G’s budget situation remains unclear.
President Alastair Summerlee said he was pleased to hear that former premier Bob Rae will be conducting a review of postsecondary education and that the government plans to enhance the Ontario Student Assistance Program. “It will have a significant effect on financial support for students,” he says.
But he adds the University is disappointed that the budget did not include any increases in quality assurance funding or additional money to address critical deferred maintenance.
This means the challenges the University is facing will be even more difficult to address, Summerlee says.
“It confirms that we took the correct approach earlier this year in deciding to be fiscally prudent and move forward with our budget planning.”
In February, all U of G colleges and directorates were asked to review their operating budgets with a target of a 3.5-per-cent reduction. The University also instituted a time-limited, voluntary early retirement and resignation program to help provide ongoing reductions to base budgets.
The Board of Governors approved the preliminary budget in April. In keeping with standard practice, the budget will be reviewed once the University receives confirmation of its final operating budget and its enrolment numbers.
The Council of Ontario Universities has issued a news release about the 2004 provincial budget on behalf of its members.