Okanagan College’s board of governors has approved a $95.5-million balanced operating budget for the coming fiscal year, addressing a $1.6 million shortfall through a number of measures, including reduced expenditures, expected increases in enrolment and a two per cent increase in tuition fees.
“We must a produce a balanced budget for the institution,” said board chairman Tom Styffe. “That balance extends to what we’ve asked our staff to do and what we are expecting of students. Our departments have found ways to reduce expenditures and increase revenues through contract training and through enhanced enrolment. At the same time, we’re increasing tuition two per cent.”
“This is only the third time in eight years that we have implemented an across-the-board fee increase,” Styffe noted. “Our goal this year was to avoid program and service cuts and we have achieved this. We want to ensure that we continue to provide access to the quality education that our students and communities deserve.”
Most institutions in British Columbia have taken the allowable two per cent increases each year since the Province implemented the limit on tuition fee increases in 2005. While tuition has gone up by 6.1 per cent at Okanagan College since 2005, the Consumer Price Index has risen more than 15 per cent.
For a full-time student in university arts with a typical course load, the two per cent increase in 2013-14 will amount to $62.79 per year, while a level one automotive painter apprentice will see tuition increase by $7.96.
In addressing the 2013-14 budget, the college had to manage $952,000 in inflationary costs, as well as an anticipated $120,000 reduction in funding from the province (part of a $70 million reduction to be applied sector-wide over the coming three years), said college officials.
The increase in tuition is expected to yield about $302,500, while an increase in enrolment is projected to yield about $92,000 in additional tuition. Reductions in departmental expenses and increases in revenue are estimated at $240,000, while increased revenue from contract and custom training is projected to yield $670,000.