The University of Ottawa's Board of Governors has approved a balanced operating budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 of over $900 million.
Among the highlights are the following:
- $64 million in financial aid for students funded in part by re-investing 30% of a tuition increase in bursaries and scholarships to ensure accessibility.
- $16.5 million for key priorities such as such as building and renovation projects to improve learning and research facilities.
- $4 million invested in specific areas to advance each of the four Destination 20/20 strategic goals:
- improving the quality of the student experience
- enhancing research excellence
- strengthening bilingualism and our commitment to the Francophone community
- deepening the University's global engagement through internationalization
While the news this year is very positive, it is clear that we are going to face challenges in future budgets, notes President Allan Rock. First among these is our pension plan, where the University is responsible for covering any shortfalls, he added.
Because of deepening deficits in the plan, the University is obligated to make a special payment of $7.9 million this year over and above regular contributions. These special payments are projected to increase to $35.6 million each year by 2014-2015, which would require significant spending cuts to maintain a balanced budget.
In the past few years, the University has successfully met other fiscal challenges. Just two years ago, it undertook a resource optimization exercise to overcome a budget deficit and reduce the annual rate of cost increases.
The steps we took at that time, although difficult, put us in a better fiscal position than most Canadian universities, remarks President Rock. I am confident that when the time comes again for collective action, we will summon that same determined spirit to meet the challenges of the future.
Consult the Budget 2012-13 documents. (http://www.financialresources.uottawa.ca/financial-statement/budget2012-2013.php)