Today, the Cape Breton University Board of Governors approved a $48.9 million operating budget for the 2015-16 year.
“Under the sound leadership of Vice-President, Gordon MacInnis, a number of tough decisions were made taking full account of the financial realities of the higher education sector in Nova Scotia. CBU is committed to program quality, accessibility, affordability and diversity, and the modernization and physical safety of its facilities – all the while keeping the best interests of our students in mind,” says President David Wheeler. “The result is a multi-year plan that focuses on growth and sustainability while being fiscally responsible.”
This year’s budget saw a range of measures to reduce costs and enhance the sustainability of the institution. Unfortunately, this involves a partial downsizing of the institution, with between five and 10 per cent cuts in staff costs, and increases in tuition. In 2015-16 there will be a three per cent tuition increase for all CBU students. The Board of Governors also approved the proposed CBU Tuition Policy. As well, the CBU Athletics Department will see a 15 per cent decrease in its budget and as part of CBU’s cost-savings exercise the ice surface at the Canada Games Complex will be decommissioned.
“The University will be establishing a Community Task Force co-chaired by two prominent Cape Breton Islanders to engage all stakeholders in repurposing of the Canada Games Complex for other sports, fitness and community activities. This newly available space will present a great new opportunity for the Cape Breton Island community,” says Wheeler.
The decisions made during the budgeting process were not easy, but ones that had to be made in order for CBU to continue to be a well-managed institution. The aim is to make progress on eliminating a projected $16.5 million shortfall that would otherwise accumulate over the next four years while maintaining institutional integrity and quality of programming.
Gordon MacInnis, Vice-President, Finance and Operations adds, “With the benefit of a four year funding commitment by the Province we have been able to embrace a multi-year financial planning model so necessary for a university. Over the past few months we engaged students, faculty representatives, and our staff in admittedly difficult discussions concerning the relative, as opposed to the absolute, importance of many things we do as an organization. The 2015-16 budget, and key planning documents such as the tuition policy and multi-year plan, ensures Cape Breton University will remain on a sound fiscal footing during challenging times for the sector.”