Concordia will post a deficit in 2012-13 and trim spending as it adjusts to a $13.2 million cut in its operating grant from the Government of Quebec.
At its January 22 meeting, the university’s Board of Governors unanimously approved a revised budget, which forecasts a deficit of up to $7.5 million for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2013. Concordia originally forecast a small surplus for the year, largely because of diligent budgeting and expected growth in student enrolment.
However, the immediate impact of the $13.2 million reduction in funding from the Government of Quebec required that Concordia revise its budget with just four months left in the current fiscal year. This is the fourth time the university has modified its 2012-13 budget because of changes in government funding measures.
“Under these circumstances, this is the best possible course of action for Concordia,” says Board of Governors Chair Norman Hébert, Jr. “The board is fully confident that Concordia will meet this fiscal challenge, and I commend the university’s senior administration for its diligent work throughout the budget process.”
The Government of Quebec has indicated that Concordia will be compensated at a later date up to $4 million for funding lost through the cancellation of the 2012-13 tuition fee increase.
“We are taking a prudent and practical approach for 2012-13, which means recording a deficit for the year and reducing spending where possible,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard.
Concordia is also proceeding as scheduled with its budget process for fiscal 2013-14, even as the university awaits a clearer picture of how government funding will evolve. This includes the expectation, yet unconfirmed by the Government of Quebec, that the $13.2 million cut in the university’s operating grant for 2012-13 will also apply to fiscal 2013-14.
“Should the $13.2 million cut be a permanent one, the situation will be difficult and will have an impact throughout the university beyond the current fiscal year,” says Shepard. “That said, Concordia will continue to move forward with its academic and research mission. Over the long term, Concordia will proceed with strategic investments designed to improve teaching resources and services to students.
“In the near term, we will be steadfast in supporting the programs and projects that are critical to both the success of our students and the resource needs of our faculty and staff in fulfilling their vital roles,” adds Shepard. “We will work very hard to protect areas such as student aid, academic programs, and research and graduate studies.”
Budget conversations generate ideas
The preparation of the 2013-14 budget follows a series of conversations, hosted by Interim Provost Lisa Ostiguy and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Kelley, held earlier this month with faculty, staff and students to explore ideas on managing the sudden reduction in the university’s operating grant.
“Our budget conversations showed how concerned, committed and creative our community is in meeting this funding challenge,” says Shepard. “We heard some great cost-saving ideas that will be examined to see if we can implement them in the coming fiscal year. We are also hopeful that the upcoming Quebec education summit will provide clarity on the direction of government funding for higher education in Quebec.”
The Concordia community will be informed of developments in its budget process and in government funding measures that emerge in the coming weeks, particularly after the education summit.
• “Budget conversations provide helpful input” — NOW, January 16, 2013
• “Concordia invites input on budget reductions” — NOW, January 9, 2013