College approves $112 million budget

New programs and student support among highlights of budget

Okanagan College’s $112-million operating budget for 2018-19 will help provide new programs, new student support, and help address pressures that have come with recent years’ growth.

The budget, passed Tuesday by the college’s board of governors, will add 13 new instructional positions in a variety of programs, including arts, science, technology, business administration and trades.

“We’ve seen significant growth in recent years,” explains Okanagan College Board of Governors Chair Chris Derickson. “This budget maps out our plans to address some of the pressures that have come with that growth, to invest in student services, and to move forward on continued growth in programs and with some of our strategic initiatives.”

There will also be a new counsellor, and additional staff for co-op education, for the learning centres in Kelowna and Penticton, and in education advising.

Further support will go toward establishing a mental health first aid network and funding for health care services.

In terms of new programs, the budget provides for a new two-year diploma in collision repair, as well as additional intakes in the sustainable construction management technology and animation programs.

There will also be an additional health and safety co-ordinator hired and new information security officer for the college’s information technology department. Two more custodial positions will be added to keep pace with the growth of the College’s physical plant (including the new trades building in Vernon, which is expected to open toward the end of the summer).

A half-time faculty position will support development and delivery of indigenous programming, and another half-time position will work on programming and applied research in Revelstoke.

The largest portion – $78 million – of the college’s $111,847,000 balanced budget goes toward salaries and personnel costs. Domestic and international tuition accounts for about 33.8 per cent of the college’s overall revenues, while grants from the province and other sources provide about 53.4 per cent of the budgeted income.

Initial estimates of the college’s enrolment for the current fiscal year suggest the equivalent of 8,660 full-time equivalent (FTE) students (7,702 of those domestic students), up from 8,430 in 2016-17.

Over the course of a year, about 20,000 people will take advantage of the college’s courses and programs at its four campuses (Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton) and its nine other learning locations, which stretch from Revelstoke to Oliver.

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