On April 17th, Brandon University’s 2013/2014 Budget Town Hall meeting was held in the Elephant Room, headed by BU President Dr. Deborah Poff, VP Academic and Provost Dr. Dean Care and VP Finance and Administration Mr. Scott Lamont.
Poff began the meeting by revealing the $250,000 grant BU received to fund the Master of Environmental Science program. Unfortunately, at the same time, it was revealed that the province had not come through with promised increases to grants, providing only 2.5% of an expected 5% increase in funding. With BU’s operating budget being roughly $40 million per year, 81% of which is provided by government grants and 16% of which comes from tuition and fees (2011/12), Poff highlighted the necessity of using the $1.9 million surplus generated in the previous school year towards balancing the budget.
Roughly 82.7% of the annual budget is dedicated to salaries and benefits, or “spent on people,” said VP Finance and Administration Mr. Scott Lamont. Since the end of the ten-year province-wide tuition freeze, a time in which BU’s enrollment in terms of credit hours peaked with 70,000 credit hours in 2005/2006, the university’s tuition fees have risen with the rate of inflation, according to government policy, and yet BU continues to have one of the lowest tuition fees across the country. As for tuition fees next school year, students can expect to see an approximate increase of $5 per three credit hour course, said Lamont.
A total of fifteen academic positions have been approved to be filled for the coming year in the Arts, Science and Health Studies faculties. Other changes include the hiring for the positions of Dean of Education, University Librarian, Director of Indigenous Peoples Centre and Aboriginal Initiatives, and Director of International Activities. Dr. Andrew Egan has been appointed as the new Dean of Science, beginning June 1st.
Also mentioned at the meeting were some goals for next year, including increasing Aboriginal student services and international student recruitment.
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