Western’s 2016–17 budget, released on Friday, shows investments in arts and humanities and social science research next year, and help for the ailing library acquisitions budget, among the major investments that the University will make in the upcoming year.
This is a quick breakdown of what you need to know.
There will be a net deficit next year of $3.9 million, with revenues rising 3.4 per cent and expenses 5.3 per cent. Deficits are expected for the next three years, growing to $23 million in 2018–19.
Government funding accounts for just 38.8 per cent of total funding, falling again this year as a percentage of the whole and a far cry from the 49 per cent in government funding just 10 years ago.
The budget notes that there is “continued uncertainty and a period of constrained growth in revenues.” These deficits are accompanied by a larger uncertainty in funding levels as the provincial government is in the middle of a funding review that could lead to the end of enrolment growth funding.
Base budgets for every faculty except engineering and business decline next year as spending will have to be reigned in on a university-wide level.
One time investments
There are a number of one time investments made in next year’s budget, including additional research funding for SSHRC (social sciences and humanities disciplines) research, which has been “identified as a high priority.” A total of $5.2 million will be going toward an endowment and initial spending of $200,000 next year. In addition, a $500,000 investment will be made to complete the Alice Munro Chair in Creativity in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities to make up a donation shortfall.
Student entrepreneurship will get $1 million spread over three years to continue to foster startup businesses on campus.
And notably, the libraries will be getting $1.1 million in one-time funding to lower the impact of the low Canadian dollar compared to the U.S., which severely impacted the libraries’ purchasing power because most of their subscriptions are in U.S. dollars.
The University is planning on an incoming class enrolment of 5,100 for the next three years, while increasing graduate student enrolment will see Western meet its target of 20 per cent of the student body being graduates. The engineering program is experiencing significant growth in its undergraduate student body, part of a strategic plan of growth for the faculty that includes a new building.
Arts and humanities continues to decline in enrolments, from a high of 1,232 in 2011–12 to 938 next year. Social science also experiences a decline of 260 students to 6,222 undergraduate full-time students next year.
The affiliates are projecting mixed enrolment figures. Brescia continues to grow but Huron and King’s are in the middle of a slump in enrolments that they expect to reverse in the coming years.
Tuition fees will go up across the board by three per cent for domestic students. International students will again see significant jumps in their tuition of typically eight per cent in first-year tuition, with MOS particularly hard hit with a third straight 12 per cent increase in its first-year tuition fee.
The University notes the reason for higher international fees is to decrease the gap between Western and peer institutions.
All ancillary fees will increase by two per cent this year, with four getting specific fee increases to fund additional mental health staffing resources, an elders-in-residence program for Indigenous Services and an international learning coordinator. Total ancillary fees are up 3.7 per cent next year.
There will be $55.7 million spent in support of new construction next year, including the completion of the FIMS/Nursing Building and Music Building, the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building and a new Engineering Building.
There will also be $15 million set aside for planning a new Integrated Learning and Innovation Centre to house smart classrooms, student collaborative and study spaces, and student service operations.
Alleviating some of the traffic problems on campus is also a high priority in the budget. $2 million will be spent next year to make campus more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
Parking continues to be a problem area and the University is “exploring options for the construction of parking garages in the periphery of campus,” as well as looking to increase parking rates long term.