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Plan for Closing Budget Gap Proposed

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Written by www.uoguelph.ca

U of G has come up with a plan to deal with most of the $8.7-million shortfall that was expected between expenditures and expected revenues in the preliminary 2006/2007 operating budget.

A special budget presentation on closing the gap was made to Senate on Tuesday by president Alastair Summerlee. The information is now available online.

“We have been forced to make a number of difficult choices. We are frustrated and disappointed with the budget situation that we and every other university in Ontario are facing, but it was important to minimize the impact on positions and preserve quality where possible,” Summerlee said. He added that the University will also try to avoid further across-the-board cuts.

The budget gap will be filled with an additional $3.7 million revenue from increases in tuition fees, although tuition fees for international students will be frozen for the remainder of their programs. Delaying a major capital project in parking services and charging ancillary units their share of service cost increases will bring in another $1 million.

A further $1 million of a base budget increase that was planned to address deferred maintenance will be eliminated. Finally, the University now estimates that projected increases in utility costs will be less than originally expected by $2 million, owing to a fall in gas rates and energy saving initiatives implemented on campus.

The result, Summerlee says, is a budget that is “very close to being balanced.” It’s hoped that the remaining $1-million funding gap can be made up via various adjustments throughout the coming fiscal year.

He adds that all Ontario universities are planning similar tuition increases, an unfortunate but essential decision that was made to protect quality. U of G will closely monitor the effect the increases have on students, especially new students, Summerlee says. It will also direct any additional financial aid to support students who have not been eligible for such aid in the past, and seek to support graduate students and international students who will be affected by the proposed increases in tuition for next year.

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