Board approves balanced budget

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A message from Dan Patterson:

I am pleased to advise that our Board of Governors recently approved our annual plans including a balanced budget for 2017-2018.

The annual plan is focused on providing high quality programs and services, while laying a strong financial foundation for our pursuit of the strategies and outcomes contained in our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.

As I shared at the outset of our budgeting process, balancing the budget for 2017-2018 represented a significant challenge as several factors create a new financial reality for all colleges in Ontario. These factors include a multi-year decline in our traditional demographics, an increasingly competitive postsecondary landscape, and uncertainty in government funding.

The budget projects increases of almost 16% in international enrolment and 1% in domestic, which combines for an expected total increase of 4.8% with growth from both higher intakes as well as roll-through from last year. To achieve our targets, we must continue to deliver an outstanding experience to our students. Further, we must all embrace our individual roles in the recruitment and retention of students – whether it’s participating in events that bring prospective students on campus, providing the services that support our students’ success, or simply helping to share the Niagara College story – these activities are crucial to our college’s continued success.

Among the factors that allowed us to achieve a balanced budget for the coming year is the continued growth of net revenue from overseas operations. The budget projects $2 million for 2017-2018, up from $1 million from last year.

Achieving a balanced budget within such a transformational time for postsecondary education represents a significant accomplishment, and speaks to our collaborative, innovative and enterprising culture, and the ability of our teams to be resourceful in developing enrolment and marketing strategies to mitigate enrolment challenges, maximizing resources, and identifying efficiencies and continued revenue diversification.

Despite our entrepreneurial efforts, growth in revenues is not meeting the growth in inflationary pressures. I want to recognize the work that is required by everyone to be successful, and know that each of us believes we could do more for students if additional resources were available. I am very proud of your efforts and results.

Moving forward, we will continue to have a shared responsibility for the financial health of our college, which will require all of us to approach our roles with the resourcefulness and innovative, entrepreneurial thinking that has served us well in the past.

Highlights of the budget include:

  • A balanced budget, with total operating expenditures of $169,167,252;
  • Capital budget of $47.9 million to support the key elements of our campus redevelopment and instructional equipment plans;
  • A projected net enrolment increase of 4.8%, with a focus on additional seats in high demand programs; and
  • Two new Graduate Certificate programs – Industrial Automation and Teaching English as a Second Language.

The 2016-2017 Business Plan is available online – I encourage you to review it. Please contact your vice president if you have questions regarding the Business Plan.

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