UPEI Board of Governors approves $124.2M balanced budget
The following message was distributed earlier today to faculty, staff, and students.
Message from the President and Vice-Chancellor
Dear Members of the University Community,
The conclusion of the 2018–19 academic year at the University of Prince Edward Island is fast approaching, and, with Convocation around the corner, I am looking forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff.
We are also nearing the end of the fiscal year (April 30, 2019), signifying the culmination of several months of budget planning, which began with broad consultation with the Vice-Presidents, University Librarian, Chief Information Officer, Deans, and Directors. After gathering information from across campus, we made the best decisions possible to ensure that growth is sustainably managed and the burden of tuition costs on our students is minimized.
Therefore, due to the collaborative efforts of many, I am pleased to announce, for the eighth year in a row, that the University of Prince Edward Island Board of Governors, at its meeting last night, approved a balanced operating budget for the 2019–20 fiscal year. We are projecting total operating revenues and total operating expenses of $124.2 million, a record high. The budget document outlines how we will fund UPEI’s operating expenditures, while identifying opportunities to invest in new strategic initiatives that expand our community impact and global reach.
As a public institution, UPEI also works very closely with the Government of Prince Edward Island on shared priorities—including the attraction and retention of students from the Island, across Canada, and around the world—in order to develop a sustainable budget for the University. Last year, the Government announced a multi-year funding agreement, allowing us to better plan, and to plan earlier, because of our advance knowledge of the two per cent increase to UPEI’s core operating grant. This support reflects the importance of postsecondary education to the future well-being of our province and we remain incredibly grateful for the Government’s investment, and true to our ongoing commitment to invest in our future.
Before I discuss these future opportunities, I would like to share some highlights from the past year.
Together, we have made wonderful progress in advancing our mission to provide outstanding experiential and research-driven learning opportunities for our students.
In 2018, we completed the transformation of Dalton Hall into the Student Experience Hub, an important and key component in serving prospective and current students, and in their successful completion of the enrolment process.
Along with members of the UPEI Strategic Planning Committee, I was energized after we engaged with members of our University community during our strategic plan renewal process, and then unveiled our guiding document, UPEI Strategic Plan 2018–2023. We are setting the bar higher and higher, and continue to develop ideas that align with our strategic priorities.
We can be proud of our ongoing gains in enrolment, and that our reputation as a leading university is growing locally, nationally, and around the world. We have welcomed a higher number of international students than ever before, and from more countries. We also have seen increases in the number of students from across Canada.
To support this enrolment and program growth, UPEI has invested in people. We continue to attract and retain exceptional faculty and staff, and currently have the highest number of employees in our history.
The Atlantic Veterinary College completed the fifth year of its 10-year funding agreement with the four Atlantic Provinces, enjoying great success. This year, for the first time, AVC met certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), allowing for additional funding over and above the guaranteed one per cent funding increase to its general operating grant.
Looking ahead to 2019–20, core revenue in the budget is allocated towards the cost of important University activities including student and ancillary services, faculties and schools, academic support, administration, and property/maintenance. We continue to work diligently to grow revenues to help offset these costs and pressures such as increased labour costs, important infrastructure upgrades, increasing supply costs, and inflationary pressures, while at the same time keeping tuition increases to a minimum and among the lowest in Atlantic Canada. This budget includes the following tuition increases:
- Undergraduate tuition increase: 2% or $12 per course
- International fee increase: 2% or $14 per course
- Graduate tuition increase: 2% per program, amounts vary
- The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine tuition will also increase by 2% with the exception of international tuition. International tuition will remain at $66,500 per annum until 2019. This tuition rate was established in 2016 as a result of comparative support from regional sources and competitive market place analysis
I must commend our UPEI Student Union and President Will McGuigan for their ongoing collaboration with the University and advocacy on behalf of our students. While he and Board of Governors student representative Owen Shaw abstained from voting on the budget motion based on the principle that the tuition increase is higher than the current consumer price index (1.5), they also understand the pressures that the University is under to balance its budget. I am grateful for their hard work in ensuring student concerns are brought to the table.
Healthy people mean a healthy university. In 2019–20, UPEI will continue to make investments to support a healthy and vibrant campus environment. Our University will continue to work with government, donors, faculty, staff, alumni, and students to develop new academic programs and grow our physical and mental health services. We do this by expanding our unique offerings and delivering them in innovative ways.
As we look to the future, I encourage you to reflect on what UPEI has achieved last year, but also over the last fifty years as we celebrate UPEI at 50. We have recently completed the most ambitious friend-raising campaign in our history, INSPIRE!, and have received great support from the community, reaching our $50 million goal early. The economic and cultural impacts of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni go well beyond our campus to communities across the Island. In addition, UPEI makes important contributions to the economies of PEI and Canada through our research agenda and expertise, and we look forward to continue working with our government counterparts to propel opportunities forward.
With every year, my amazement builds at how UPEI’s innovation is having more and more impact. I sincerely thank all of our faculty and staff for their contributions to our University, and our students for choosing UPEI. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2019, I hope that you will share my enthusiasm for our future initiatives and what they will mean to our University for the next 50 years.
Dr. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Prince Edward Island