Balanced 2006-07 Interim Budget Approved by Board of Governors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2006
Trent University's Board of Governors today approved an interim balanced operating budget of $80,553,000 for the 2006-07 fiscal year.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, Board Chair Reid Morden stressed that the approval of an 'interim' budget reflects the Board's on-going concerns about how the uncertainties around provincial funding are threatening the ability of the University to strategically manage and plan its revenue and expenditure budgets. Morden said, "In approving the proposed operating budget for 2006-07, the Board expressed its frustration with the timing of government funding announcements and the necessity of approving annual operating budgets based only on 'best guess' revenue assumptions."
In approving the interim budget, the Board affirmed its commitment to achieving a balanced budget that aligns expenditures with the institution's Strategic Directions.
"The University's three year, projected Operating Budget demonstrates that Trent will continue to face fiscal challenges in spite of the government's recent commitment to increase grants for postsecondary education and the creation of a new tuition framework announced in the spring," said Don O'Leary, Vice President (Administration).
A number of uncertainties for the sector remain. The 'Reaching Higher Plan' did not indicate, for example, firm levels of funding by institution for 2006-07 through to 2009-10. The provincial government's plans to expand Graduate Studies programming have not been fully detailed at an institutional level. And the government's policy decisions since the release of Reaching Higher report have funded less enrolment growth than is now forecast (11.5 per cent from 2004-05 to 2009-10 according to estimates).
Highlights of the budget include:
A range of student compulsory ancillary fees and room and board fee increases were approved, ranging from 1 per cent for residences to 3 per cent for meals. Given that the University is ahead of its projections to reduce its accumulated deficit, the Board accepted a recommendation from the administration to suspend any additional contributions to the cumulative deficit for 2006-07.
Commenting about the need for tuition increases in his report on higher education, the Honourable Bob Rae stated, "While there is unquestionably a significant social benefit to higher education that should be recognized by a stronger commitment to public funding, there is also an important private benefit to the student and the graduate. It is only reasonable for students to pay part of the cost."
The changes in tuition follow a two year tuition freeze, are consistent with the Rae Review report and are in-line with increases at other Ontario universities. In relation to student aid, Trent University was ranked number one among primarily undergraduate universities in Canada in 2005 for investments in student scholarships and bursaries as a percentage of its operating budget.
Internal Governors Elected:
Elected for a two year term, Linda Smith of the Physical Resources department will succeed John Casserly in one of the two staff seats; Colin Whitfield will succeed student governor Catherine Dickinson; and Professor Deborah Kennett has been reappointed for a second term.
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For more information contact:
Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1224