Trent Press Release


April 22, 2002

From the Board of Governors' Meeting - Friday, April 26, 2002

Trent Balances Budget Third Year in a Row

Lack of full funding, inflation and operating costs highlight continued financial challenges for university

2002-03 Budget

Trent University's Board of Governors today approved a $48,121,000 expenditure budget for 2002-03 that would result in the third consecutive balanced budget in the university in six years.

Although it was noted that the university's financial recovery plan has placed the university on a stronger financial footing, the university continues to face significant financial challenges.

"While Trent University has achieved a balanced budget this year and a projected balanced budget for next year, the university is still contending with a $7.1 million cumulative deficit and a deferred and growing maintenance liability of $32 million," says Bonnie Patterson, President and Vice Chancellor. "We have a plan to manage the cumulative deficit over the next decade but the plan is very dependent upon government's commitment to fund growth adequately and address outstanding issues such as deferred maintenance."

Patterson emphasized that the balanced budget is good news in itself but major financial challenges remain. "Despite the fact that we are planning for growth in the coming years, there is no confirmation that the province will provide the additional funds needed for these student spaces," says Patterson. She stressed that the university is concerned and hopeful that the province will respond in its next budget to universities' and parents' growing concerns about full funding, no inflation, and no operating increases for the university sector.

Quality Improvement Plan 2002-03

Approval was given to a 2 per cent increase in undergraduate tuition fees ($77) and a Quality Improvement Plan that will enhance student financial assistance and employment, and create new investments in academic programs.

The tuition increase will result in an additional $386,000 in revenue. As per Ministry policy, 30 per cent of these new revenues will be used to increase student financial assistance. The balance (70 per cent) will be used to sustain and improve the quality of students programs.

Highlights of the Quality Improvement Plan include:

$115,800 for needs-based student financial assistance and student employment
$270,200 to support:

  • New educational initiatives that maintain current levels of course choices and class size for students, and expand offerings to Trent in Oshawa
  • Implementation of the new library automation project in cooperation with the University of Toronto, providing students with high-speed access to a wider range of electronic learning materials
  • Support for the Interactive Learning Centre which provides faculty with training in the application of new technologies in the classroom, and enhanced workspace and software capabilities for faculty to develop specialized technological support materials for undergraduate teaching.

The Board approved a 3.5 per cent increase in residence fees and meal plan costs. It was noted that tuition fee revenue is the only variable in Trent University's 2002-03 fiscal year that can be adjusted to keep up with the cost of doing business. The university is projecting no additional revenue from the provincial government from its base operating grants, another factor that contributed to the Board's decision to increase fees.

Actuarial Reports

Approval was given to two actuarial reports - The Contributory Pension Plan for TUFA Employees and The Contributory Pension Plan for Employees Represented by OPSEU Local 365 and Exempt and Administrative Staff.

Investment Policies

Revised Investment Policies and Procedures for the Pension Fund and the Endowment Fund establishing new asset mixes were approved.

Annual Distribution Policy - Special Resolution Endowment Fund

Amendments to the wording of special resolution 11.9 regarding the Endowment Fund were approved.

President's Report

In her report to the Board, President Patterson paid tribute to Volunteer Week and praised the Board members who serve the university community as volunteer members of the Board of Governors. Plans for Convocation were reviewed including the appointment of Ambassador Mary May Simon as pro tem Chancellor, who will oversee the May 31 Convocation. Patterson advised the Board that the Senate Executive would pursue the selection of a new university Chancellor in the fall. She noted that a new Senate structure had been approved and that the Modern Languages Department had created a new emphasis area in Linguistics. The President briefed the Board on CAAT Applied Degree programs, recently approved by the Ministry, and the Trent Aboriginal Education Council Report to Senate.

Next Meeting

The next Board of Governors meeting is set for Thursday, June 27. Convocation day is Friday, May 31.

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