UPEI invests in students, grows programs with balanced budget

Posted: 
Friday, May 19, 2017

The University of Prince Edward Island Board of Governors approved a balanced budget at their May meeting last evening for the 2017–18 fiscal year.

The annual operating budget, which is $113.9 million, outlines how UPEI funds important campus resources like student and ancillary services, faculties and schools, academic support, administration, and property maintenance. The operating budget does not include research funds, which are budgeted separately on a project-by-project basis, but it does include the budget of departments that provide support to research. Capital projects are also budgeted on a project-by-project basis and reported within the capital assets fund.

UPEI’s budget plan is based on revenue generated by two principal sources—the annual provincial operating grant and student tuition. As was announced during the spring sitting of the provincial legislature, the provincial government increased UPEI’s operating grant by one per cent for 2017–18.

“We thank our government for its commitment and support to post-secondary students. The University continues to work with the Government of Prince Edward Island on important synergies including the attraction and retention of students from the Island, across Canada, and around the world,” said President Abd-El-Aziz. “These initiatives support our shared priority of providing a quality education to our students so they can succeed to their full potential in a global market.”

The budget includes a tuition increase of three per cent, keeping it among the lowest in the Maritimes, at $603 per three-semester hour course, an increase of $17. This represents an increase of $170 per year for a student taking a full-course load. Fees for international students will also increase by three per cent, or $21 per course.

President Abd-El-Aziz explained, “We recognize that the cost of post-secondary education is rising for our students. However, a modest increase in tuition fees is necessary to help counteract our significant budget pressures. Despite a three per cent increase, our tuition remains the second lowest undergraduate rate in the Maritime provinces.”

“Another tuition increase is of course disappointing,” said Hammad Ahmad, President of the UPEI Student Union. “The UPEI Student Union’s position has always been that tuition should never increase more than the Consumer Price Index, but we do realize that the increase has been kept to a minimum given the financial challenges that the University faces.”

During the budget process, the University worked to minimize the impact on UPEI’s most valuable resource—people—by continuing to reduce non-salary expenditures as much as possible. UPEI and the unions also successfully negotiated employment contracts that cover the period 2016–20 and worked together to make changes to the University’s pension plan. While the proportion of the operating budget allocated to salaries and benefits remains high at 71 per cent, UPEI has been able to not only sustain its workforce through vacancy management and attrition, but grow faculty and staff numbers to accommodate new program developments.

“UPEI is very proud of the continuing success of our students, faculty, and researchers,” added President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. “Together, we are building outstanding experiential learning opportunities though the development of new programs in sustainable design engineering; mathematical and computational sciences; and applied communication, leadership, and culture.”

“UPEI is committed to investing in our students through providing excellent education, service, and supports.”

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students to reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree-granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

Nicole Phillips
Associate Director
Department: 
Marketing and Communications
Phone: 
(902) 566-0947
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