With a steady hand on the tiller, NSCAD University is righting its financial ship and heading towards sustainability.
The university’s 2012-13 operating budget, approved last week by the Board of Governors, shows substantial improvement to the bottom line. The university’s operating deficit has been reduced by more than $1.2 million and the total operating budget stands at approximately $18.6 million.
“We are doggedly proceeding with Model A of our Framework for Sustainability,” says Daniel O’Brien, acting president of NSCAD University. “This will get us to sustainability but will take us more than one fiscal year.”
Some of the measures in the 2012-13 budget include a three per cent tuition increase (approved by the province under the MOU for all Nova Scotia universities) and a reduction of the government’s operating grant by three per cent. The budget also introduces three student fees, also approved by the province and which are standard at most other universities. They include a facility fee ($45/semester), technology renewal fee ($50/semester), and a one-time graduation fee of $50.
This belt-tightening budget was developed based on “Model A” of the university’s Framework for Sustainability, which was delivered to the Nova Scotia government on March 30. Other aspects of Model A include increased rental revenue from the university’s Granville Campus, decreased labour costs through natural attrition of staff, decreased utility costs because of recent energy efficiency upgrades, a university-wide spending freeze, and the reduction of 50 to 55 classes as a result of dropping under-enrolled sections of the same courses and the development of a four-year timetable.
The university is still awaiting feedback from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education on “Model B,” which would take the university towards balance sooner.
“The future is bright for NSCAD,” adds Dr. O’Brien. “Our expected enrolment for the fall is strong; our faculty and staff continue to garner accolades; and, our anniversary celebrations really rev up in September. So please join us in celebrating 125 amazing years of art education in Halifax.”