U of C administration unveils 2014–15 budget

By Michael Grondin

University of Calgary administration announced a balanced budget and a new Comprehensive Institutional Plan (CIP) for 2014–15 at a town hall meeting on March 21.

According to provost and vice-president academic Dru Marshall, this balanced budget will help the U of C further its goal of becoming a top-five Canadian university by 2016.

“We really wanted to thank the community for helping us to weather the budget storm of 2013,” Marshall said, “and for focusing on our academic and research priorities and helping us to keep our foot on the gas.”

The Alberta government allocated $3.8 million to the U of C for 339 new enrolment seats for next September. This is after last year’s provincial net budget cut of 7.2 per cent for post-secondary education.

The U of C’s expenditures for 2014–15 are set at $1.22 billion. The new CIP will focus on enrolment, research, internationalization and advancements in information technology.

The budget provides money for construction and maintenance on a number of buildings, including the MacKimmie complex, Professional Faculties, Scurfield Hall, Science A, MacHall as well as new fume hoods for labs.

Funding for new student residences are also included in the plan.

Scholarships and awards are set at $78 million, slightly more than last year.

Students’ Union president Raphael Jacob said he is optimistic about the U of C’s finances.

“I think we are in a very strong financial situation. You could especially see that last year, in the wake of the 7.2 per cent cut, we stayed strong then and we continue to have a really strong balanced budget,” Jacob said.

The Board of Governors re-approved Quality Money, which sets aside roughly $1.6 million for student-focused projects for each of the next three years.

“When we are in a strong financial position as a university, that has real benefits for students,” Jacob said. “Our board and our university is in a comfortable enough position financially that they can afford to give millions to the students every year.”

At the town hall, U of C president Elizabeth Cannon said the institutional plan will benefit undergraduate and graduate students.

“We have to continue to innovate in terms of ensuring that the student experience meets the expectations and needs of the students,” Cannon said.

Cannon praised instructors and researchers for their work in upholding the U of C’s academic goals.

“It’s a feather in the cap of all of you and what you do day in and day out whether it’s in the classroom, whether it’s through your research or engaging in our community. It’s really important to build our reputation,” Cannon said.

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