Board of Governors Approves Budget

April 16, 2010 - Campus Bulletin

The University of Guelph's 2010/2011 integrated plan and Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) operating budget has been approved by Board of Governors. The budget includes changes and cost savings made as part of the University's multi-year plan to eliminate its structural deficit. This is Year 3 of the four-year plan.

For the first time, the budget and integrated plan were presented as a single document. John Miles, assistant vice-president (finance), and Prof. Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic), presented it to B of G during its April 14 meeting. The document includes key planning directions for academic and administrative units, and relates these directions to the resource-allocation decisions proposed in the annual budget.

The goal is to establish long-term fiscal balance and stability, and to invest strategically in target areas, Miles and Mancuso said. The University will also work to attract and retain students, sustain program quality and maintain critical infrastructures.

One of the key objectives of the 2010/2011 budget was to continue to reduce U of G’s structural deficit via the multi-year plan. Initiated in 2008/09, the plan aims to find a total of $46.2 million in cost savings/reductions by 2011/12. This year, departments and units were required to find savings of $16.2 million.

Of the total operating budget of $320 million, the 2010/11 budget includes $32.5 million in incremental savings and revenues, including the multi-year plan reductions, tuition, revenue from an increase in student enrolment, and changes in government grants. This is offset by $27.5 million in incremental costs and investments, including salaries and benefits and critical expenditures such as utilities and infrastructure. The $5 million in net new revenues/savings will be used to reduce the structural deficit.

U of G will hold the current undergraduate intake target to 4,500 new students and will increase student enrolment in targeted areas such as graduate studies and engineering.

B of G also approved 2010/2011 tuition fees and non-tuition compulsory fees as part of the operating budget. Tuition increases are based on the provincial tuition framework, which limits increases on certain programs. They are:
* Entering undergraduate students, 4.5 per cent
* Entering undergraduate students, professional programs, eight per cent
* Continuing undergraduate students (all), four per cent
* Entering and continuing graduate students, three per cent.

International tuition increases will affect only entering students, and the fee increases will vary from zero to eight per cent, depending on the program. Overall, the changes in tuition fees are expected to generate about $4.3 million in additional revenue.

B of G also learned that the University continues to build a contingency fund for an anticipated “solvency” pension payment scheduled for August 2010. The province requires that, every three years, businesses (including universities) with defined benefits plans “prove” they have the financial means to meet current pension requirements if they were to close. Based on current estimates, Guelph requires an estimated $280 million to make up the difference between assets and liabilities in the pension fund.

Board members made it clear that this issue is one of the biggest challenges facing the University, and the pension payment will continue to occupy a major portion of advocacy efforts, including seeking relief from provincial funding rules.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1