Update on operating grant cuts
Since I last provided you with an update on the outcomes of the Government of Quebec’s summit on higher education, there have been important developments about the timing of reductions to university operating grants for 2013-14.
The government and CREPUQ, which represents Quebec’s 19 universities, have reached an agreement in principle to implement the 2013-14 operating grant reductions gradually over a number of years rather than all in 2013-14.
University leaders are reviewing this proposal and will be responding to the government as soon as possible. Each university has to evaluate the impact of the proposal on its operations and budget planning, and Concordia will be doing this in the days ahead. We will keep you informed of our progress.
Although this is a promising development, the university network still has to absorb a $124 million reduction in operating grants for 2012-13. That amounts to $13.2 million for Concordia, and will translate into a budget deficit for the university for the year ending April 30, 2013.
To meet the government’s conditions, we still have to implement cost savings across the university for this fiscal year and the years ahead to reduce and eliminate our deficit, which by government directive cannot be more than $6.6 million for 2012-13. Although it appears that the impact of the 2013-14 cuts to the university sector (an additional $124 million) will be spread over a number of years, they are still cuts and they will affect Concordia and all universities.
At Concordia, like at all universities, we must balance revenues with rising costs in key areas such as salaries, benefits and pensions, among others. We have to carefully manage these costs, along with the reductions in government funding, and make concerted efforts to eliminate our deficit.
While welcome, the announced indexation of tuition fees will provide only some relief as it adds revenues amounting to less than one per cent of our annual operating budget.
I am grateful for the support that is being expressed throughout our community as we manage these issues.
• President shares observations on education summit — NOW, February 27, 2013
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