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NSCAD University approves 2021-2022 budget, prepares to return to campus for the fall semester

K’jipuktuk/Halifax (May 10, 2021)At its May 6, 2021 meeting, NSCAD University’s Board of Governors approved a balanced budget for the university for 2021-2022, projected to be $21,345,850 for both operating expenditures and revenues (an increase of 8 % and 11.8 % respectively from the 2020-2021 budget). As it returns to close to pre-pandemic budget levels, the 2021-2022 budget includes:

  • an additional $60,000 invested to support student wellness, mental health and success including sexual violence prevention, anti-oppression training, and emergency bursaries
  • removal of the graduation fee
  • new, donor-funded BIPOC student scholarship opportunities
  • a dedicated, full-time counsellor position
  • conservative tuition increases of 1% for domestic students and 2.5 % for international students to ensure the university continues to provide operational effectiveness, program enhancements, and a rich, relevant academic and artistic experience for students
  • a new student support fee ($25 domestic, $50 international) to fund a new Belonging Coordinator position that will help students with advice and direct assistance

NSCAD will also continue to invest in strategic initiatives to support a campus environment where everyone is a valued contributor, including the President’s Advisory Council on Anti-Racist Initiatives (PADCARI), the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, and the Accessibility Advisory Group.

During the height of the pandemic’s financial impact in 2020-2021, NSCAD held tuition fees to existing levels and employed strict cost controls and a drawdown on operating reserves. These actions helped to close the unexpected budget gap between reduced operating revenues and additional costs to develop, produce and deliver online courses.

After reviewing all potential sources of revenue and cost controls, the Budget Advisory Committee – comprised of staff, faculty and students – included the 1 % domestic and 2.5% international tuition increases to help offset increased operational- and inflation-driven costs, and achieve a balanced financial position for 2021-2022.

“On behalf of NSCAD, I congratulate and thank students, faculty and staff for successfully transitioning to online learning during unimaginable and prolonged disruptions of every aspect of life,” said NSCAD Interim President Sarah McKinnon, PhD. “I’d also like to thank everyone for the hard work and focused discipline that helped create a responsible budget for the current year. While we are cautiously optimistic that we will be returning to campus by the fall, the pandemic will continue to create financial risks for NSCAD and all universities, and I’m proud to be part of a dedicated team that continually adapts to these challenges and mitigates the impacts of tuition increases.”

The budget assumes NSCAD will return to predominantly in-person learning for the fall 2021 semester while continuing to deliver some online courses. NSCAD is looking forward to returning to face-to-face and studio-based instruction based on Nova Scotia Public Health’s outlook for COVID-19 vaccinations to deliver the first dose to most adults by June 2021, which is essential to building widespread immunity.

NSCAD is grateful to the Province of Nova Scotia for providing COVID-19 grant support, which has helped place the university in a solid position as it begins a new academic year.