UNBC Increases Tuition in New Budget
Prince George, B.C. – The University of Northern British Columbia Board of Governors has approved its combined general operating and ancillary services budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
According to the school’s Budget Office, the $91.3 million budget “allows the University to maintain existing service levels” while providing “a structure for enhanced student recruitment and retention initiatives designed to help the University meet its target of increasing UNBC student by five per cent or more each year through 2020.”
Other investments in the budget includes:
- Investment in faculty positions
- Modernizing research tools such as weather data collection and biology lab equipment
- Support for online, distance, and hybrid course delivery
- Provisions to support ongoing academic and integrated strategic planning, infrastructure investment, and resources for employees.
The Budget Office also notes UNBC “has a very strong balance sheet with an endowment of more than $50 million (which funds items such as student awards and faculty research chairs) and cash reserves of almost $50 million (which pays for things like infrastructure repair and replacement).”
The Budget Office also says UNBC faces “some unexpected financial pressures” including declining revenues from multiple sources and increased compensation costs.
As a result, the Board of Governors approved the following actions to address those pressures including:
- A temporary adjustment of allocations to reserves that have sufficient balances to maintain activities at the same level as previous years.
- A temporary decrease to the operating budget of about $400,000
- A tuition hike of two per cent (works out to an increase of $102 per year)
According to the Budget Office, about 62 per cent of the operating budget revenue is provided by the provincial government, while around 23 per cent comes from tuition and fees.
Wages and benefits account for about 69 per cent of UNBC’s total operating expenditures.
Robert Knight, UNBC’s VP of Finance and Business Operations, offered his reaction to the budget this afternoon.
“It’s done a good job of investing in high priority areas for the university which is something that we asked the Board of Governors to help us do going back quite a ways and in fact we’ve had a lot of discussions on our campus about what the priorities are and how to best invest,” he said.
“So, even though we have to reduce spending in some areas we’ve actually made some significant investments in other areas. So, I think this budget goes a long ways towards helping UNBC achieve its aspirations and most importantly keeping our operations going steadily and committing to providing a better level of education for our students and service to the community and research of course. So, I’m pretty pleased with it.”
As for the two per cent tuition hike, he says it was needed to offset UNBC’s declining enrolment, to pay for annual increases in faculty and staff wages, to cover the high cost of maintaining the school campus and to cover supply costs which in many cases must be purchased in U.S. dollars (things like electronics and software).