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Board of Governors approves UNB budget for 2015-16

Author: Communications

Posted on Jun 2, 2015

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton , In the Media , UNB Homepage , myUNB

The University of New Brunswick Board of Governors has approved the university’s 2015-2016 operating budget, which focuses on continued investments in its academic mission and research while realizing cost savings through expenditure controls.

“Our focus is on reinvigorating our academic mission, providing strong support for our students and faculty, and enhancing national awareness of our innovative programs and entrepreneurial mindset,” said Eddy Campbell, president and vice-chancellor of UNB.  “Although it is a challenging time for universities across the country, including ours, I’m confident we will continue to work together towards achieving our strategic goals and building a better UNB and a better New Brunswick.”

After considerable analysis and effort, UNB had presented the Board of Governors with the 2015-16 operating budget that is in a net deficit position of $3.6 million. Despite continued challenges, this is the first net deficit budget UNB has presented since 2010.

Many factors contributed to this year’s deficit budget, including the provincial government’s decision to freeze university operating grants and request to freeze tuition. The loss of that planned revenue represents about $3.9 million to UNB.

“Developing a budget in this climate was difficult, given that our costs continue to increase through factors beyond our control while our largest revenue sources are frozen,” Campbell said. “With continued investments in our academic mission and research, as well as cost-saving measures that will be made, we believe this budget best positions UNB for the future.”

To ensure continued investment in the academic mission, one-time reserve funds of $2.2 million will be used to offset some cost increases, as well as an additional $1.9 million of one-time revenue. The budget forecasts $183.8 million in revenues for the year, a decrease of 1.1 per cent from the previous year.  Expenses stand at $191.6 million, an increase of 3.1 per cent over the previous year.

Highlights of the budget include:

  • No increase to tuition, in keeping with the provincial government’s request;
  • An increase in spending on student aid;
  • An $11.5 capital budget with a focus on a mix of infrastructure renewal projects, improvements to facilities and spaces as well as purchases of new technology and equipment; and
  • a freeze on non-salary expense categories, such as travel and supplies.

As a result of continued declining enrolments and a loss of planned revenues on UNB’s Saint John campus, base budget reductions of $1.2 million have been implemented specific to that campus.  This will be largely met through expense reductions, including attrition of two vacant staff positions and by holding off on the hiring of two vacant faculty positions.

Because UNB’s investment portfolio returns continue to be strong, scholarship spending will be topped up – the scholarships and student aid funding budget is $8.8 million, up by 8.6 per cent from last year.

UNB will continue to focus on prudent control of our expenses. In the last 10 years, the university has reduced expense growth in the budget by more than $27 million up to 2014-15.

“At the same time, we must ensure we make the right investments for our future,” Campbell said. “We will pursue increased revenues through new investments in a number of initiatives, including student recruitment and retention strategies, an academic renewal process led by our faculty as well as bolstering our national and international profile by promoting the excellent work of our faculty and students through our  ‘Why UNB?’ campaign, which is currently being developed and is expected to be launched in the fall.”

Detailed information for the 2015-2016 budget year, including university operations, capital activity, spending from university endowments and residence operations can be found at Budget Planning & Reports.

Media contact: Sonya Gilks