Board approves budget framework for 2018/19

The Board of Governors approved the University of Victoria’s budget of $369.1 million for fiscal 2018/19 at its March 27 meeting.

The university's new Strategic Framework, Strategic Research Plan, Campus Plan, Communications and Marketing Plan, Employment Equity Plan, Indigenous Plan and International Plan all provide important direction in identifying priorities and allocating financial resources across the university.

UVic operating costs are funded by two sources: government grants, accounting for 50 per cent of operating revenues, and student fees, accounting for 37 per cent of revenues. The provincial grant for 2018/19 is expected to increase by $6.3 million for bargaining compensation and support for 50 new full-time equivalent student seats in an expanded computer science and engineering program.

Significant allocations

Consistent with the university’s goals and mission, approximately 80 per cent of the total operating budget is allocated to academic areas including faculties, research, library, student financial aid and student services. Across the operating budget, faculty and staff salaries and benefits comprise approximately 80 per cent of all expenditures.

The university is making significant allocations in many areas. There is increased support for such areas as Indigenous academic and community engagement, the Division of Learning, Teaching, Support and Innovation, research, scholarships, bursaries, student work study, library collection, student services, health services, the UVic Edge communications plan, and development initiatives.

Several specific initiatives and associated funding in support of the emerging Strategic Framework will be announced in the coming months.

Fee increases

Student fees contribute to the enhanced quality and long-term financial sustainability of UVic. All current students pay inflationary increases. Domestic student fees will increase by two per cent in 2018/19, reflecting the provincial policy of limiting domestic fee increases. It was determined last year that international student fees would reflect actual inflationary increases, which are currently four per cent.

As also signalled last year, the university undertook a review of its international student fees for 2018/19 based on the actual costs of education, a comparison to other similar institutions and quality of degrees offered. Based on the findings of the review, new undergraduate international student fees will increase by 20 per cent in 2018/19 and the three-year planning and budget framework recommends a further 15 per cent increase for 2019/20.

The exception is the BCom program where the increase is six per cent, as current rates are more comparable to peers. Currently enrolled undergraduate international students are grandparented under the existing tuition structure and their fees will be limited to a four per cent inflationary increase.

Current and new graduate student fee increases will also be limited to a four per cent inflationary increase. The exceptions are MGB and MBA programs, where international fees are lower than peers. New international MGB students will pay fee increases of 20 per cent each in 2018/19 and 2019/20. New international MBA students will pay increases of 14 per cent each in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

Enhanced supports and services

There was extensive consultation with students last fall on the supports and services that contribute to international student success and satisfaction levels with existing supports and services. As a result, in the coming year, investments to enhance support for international students will include work study, international student services including the integration of academic support services, the global communities program, co-op and careers, and health services.

To reduce financial hardship for students, UVic is providing enhanced international student financial assistance to those for whom higher fees would be a substantial barrier. International bursaries were increased by 10 per cent to $270,000 and the university will monitor usage and adjust if necessary. There’s also $300,000 in scholarship funding available to international students.

The university's 2018/19 ancillary operations units are required to be financially self-sufficient and fees have been adjusted to reflect this. UVic is committed to transportation sustainability and encouraging alternate modes of commuting.

Parking and other fees

Parking rates will increase by five per cent to contribute to the student UPASS bus pass program and pay for parking lot maintenance and operations. The increase will also provide funding for future parking-related capital projects, such as parkades, as recommended in the Campus Plan.

The university is implementing fees to cover infrastructure improvements, such as renewal costs in dining facilities and food services. The average standard meal plan for students will increase seven per cent to cover inflationary costs associated with rising food prices and provide funding for renewal and dining infrastructure improvements.

For more information, read the 2018-19 Planning and Budget Framework document (pdf).


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Keywords: budget, administrative

Publication: The Ring

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