Louie Villanueva

University of Calgary freezes salaries of executives and administrators following provincial budget cuts

By Chris Adams, April 20 2015 —

University of Calgary administration announced at a budget presentation Monday, April 20 they’ll freeze executive salaries to deal with provincial spending cuts announced in March.

The provincial government cut post-secondary funding by 1.4 per cent for 2015–16 and by 2.7 per cent the following year. According to a U of C press release, the university will receive between $37–47 million less than expected from Campus Alberta by 2016–17.

Salaries and benefits are the U of C’s greatest expense, totalling 58 cent of expenditures. The freeze will last from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

Although the budget isn’t final — the Board of Governors will vote whether or not to approve it April 28 — provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall said they’ll have a balanced budget this year. But she hinted at big changes for the U of C, saying now is the time to “pilot new ideas.”

“We will likely look different as an institution,” Marshall said.

The U of C also projects increased enrolment. The U of C expects to enrol 1,491 additional students by 2017–18, half of which will find themselves on campus next year.

However, projected enrolment is down 2.7 per cent over the next two years alongside provincial funding.

Marshall hinted at what administration would do if the province decides to cut the tuition cap. Tuition in Alberta is currently tied to inflation. University’s and colleges can’t raise tuition more than the rate of inflation tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This year, the U of C requested a 2.2 per cent hike to tuition fees, the maximum allowed for 2015–16.

She said the university would engage in consultation with students throughout the 2015–16 academic year before ultimately ruling on how to proceed at the Board of Governors in April 2016. She said tuition prices for 2015–16 won’t rise beyond the rate of inflation.

With increased enrolment, tuition revenue is expected to grow over the next three years. She said they’ll draw new tuition revenue from CPI-cap increases, market modifiers and new enrolment.

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