On Tuesday, April 4th, Harvest Hall hosted the annual budget. Brandon University President, Dr. Gervan Fearon introduced main speaker, Vice-President Administration and Finance Scott Lamont, and thanked students for attending during the hectic final week of classes. Lamont opened by requesting that those in attendance keep an open mind and to please bring up any solutions to the budget that had not been introduced in the projections.
The main focus of the budget meeting was in regards to the Manitoba government’s recent decision to amend the Protecting Affordability Act. Until last month, Manitoba universities could not raise tuition rates by more than inflation each year. With the amendment, Brandon University proposes to raise tuition by 5% plus inflation per year beginning in the 2018/2019 school year. Lamont assured the crowd that Brandon University has no intention of raising its tuition to be higher than the lowest-priced Western university – which is currently the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), where tuition averages between $5000 and $7000. Brandon University sits just behind SAIT’s maximum average at an average of $6219 for domestic tuition.
While inflation is certainly a factor in the need to increase tuition, no finite plan was discussed to make Brandon University worth the increase in tuition – no planned renovations to classrooms or other facilities, no promise to make classes more available, no additional ancillary or student services planned to be available. According to Lamont, “people don’t come for the facilities, they come for the professors, classes, and low tuition.”
Lamont compared BU to the larger University of Manitoba when explaining the University’s budget, with BU having roughly a tenth of the operating budget of U of M at $60 million. More information regarding the budget will become available in the coming weeks, as the Province of Manitoba will determine how much Brandon University’s operating budget will be subsidized through government bursaries.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 29, April 11th, 2017.