The University of Saskatchewan received a smaller grant increase to the operating budget from the provincial government than it had hoped for the 2010-11 school year.
Despite lower than hoped for provincial contributions, there has been no reduction to academic enrichment funding.
“A lot of our emphasis is on balancing the budget, but within that we see the university’s responsibilities to be on innovation despite being prudent with public resources,” said Brett Fairbairn, provost and vice-president academic for the U of S.
The U of S requested a 5.2 per cent increase to cover normal economic cost increases. It instead received a four per cent increase.
To fill part of the gap, tuition will constitute a larger part of the budget. There will be a weighted average tuition increase of 5.2 per cent over all colleges.
Students in most colleges will pay about $20 more per class but law, pharmacy, engineering and business students will have a larger increase.
There will be an additional 2.9 per cent grant increase devoted to providing more seats in the colleges of medicine and nursing.
The university’s projected revenue for general use for the year is $388 million. Investment income, other government contributions and fees make up the eight per cent of the budget not covered by the provincial grant and tuition.
A lot of our emphasis is on balancing the budget, but within that we see the university’s responsibilities to be on innovation despite being prudent with public resources.
U of S Provost
The operating budget is seeing the second half of a three per cent budget decrease planned over two years, but no further cuts were deemed necessary this year. If these cuts had not been made, the total operating budget would be approximately $10 million larger.
Salaries and benefits comprise more than two thirds of annual spending. Specific development will see the next largest portion, at 13 per cent. This goes toward library acquisitions, student services and other academic services. Utilities for the entire campus will require five per cent of the budget.
The overall budget will be balanced after a $1.5 million predicted surplus is used to help projects remain sustainable on the permanently reduced budget.
“To carry out budget reductions and to make the campus sustainable on the long term budget, that’s what one third of those funds are for,” said Fairbairn.
“Another third is for trusts and endowments, particularly for student scholarships and ongoing endowments, since investments are still down from two years ago. The third part is maintaining research activities. We
do not want projects to drop off because we can’t fund them for a year.”
The capital project fund, a separate fund devoted to campus maintenance and improvement, is also seeing difficulties. The provincial government has reduced its capital project funding for the year by nearly $8 million, to $12 million for the coming school year, despite the university’s request for a $10 million increase in funding.
The cut is anticipated to be temporary, with capital funding returning to normal next school year.
Payment for Thorvaldson building renovations has been deferred one year, meaning the final payment will be slightly larger. The ongoing predicted $5 million campus core revitalization project, meant to enhance existing education facilities, also lost funding for the year.
The completion of Place Riel and Veterinary Medicine renovations are also expected in 2010-11.
The budget ran a $949,000 deficit at the end of the last fiscal year. The operating reserve will remain at $9.8 million at the end of this year.
image via Flickr user Jordon Cooper