An increase in the University’s 2008-09 operating grant announced in the provincial budget March 19 will allow the institution to move forward with its plans and priorities while avoiding any increase in the tuition it charges students.
The Saskatchewan Party government’s first budget included a $16.9 million increase in the operating funding it will channel to the U of S, more than matching the $16.7 million projected in the University’s Operations Forecast. The total includes enough new funding to meet operational requirements for the year and continue the previous government’s program of holding tuition at 2004-05 levels.
The grant increase also contains a $2 million injection into the Academic Priorities Fund (APF), effectively doubling that fund as the University heads into its second planning cycle. That pushes the total operating grant for 2008-09 to about $225.5 million.
“From the perspective of the University of Saskatchewan, I am pleased with this budget,” said President Peter MacKinnon. “It meets our needs as projected in the Operations Forecast. It enables us to maintain tuitions at 04-05 levels without being directive or controlling,” a nod to the Board of Governor’s right, as outlined in the University of Saskatchewan Act, to manage its own tuition levels.
MacKinnon noted that the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour has said it plans to hold discussions with the provincial universities on future tuition management plans as well issues relating to scholarships and bursaries.
As for the $2 million in APF funding from the government, MacKinnon said it “recognizes and rewards our planning activities … (and) indicates the understanding they (the government) have developed of what we’re trying to do.”
The president added his appreciation of the continued support of the U of S shown by the taxpayers of Saskatchewan.
The government also announced in its budget an $884,000 increase in the University’s capital grant, bringing it to $18.382 million for 2008-09. The Operations Forecast had indicated the need for $3 million in new capital funding to cover infrastructure needs and core area revitalization.
In addition, the government will provide the University with $400,000 for operating costs of the expanded Western College of Veterinary Medicine. And to fulfill prior commitments, a total of $4.6 million will go to addressing College of Medicine accreditation needs, and expansion of both the Nursing and medical resident training programs.