Message from Dan Patterson: Balanced budget for 2013-14

Dan PattersonEarlier this month, I shared Niagara College’s new 2013-16 Strategic Plan with the college community. Our new Strategic Plan provides a compelling roadmap for future growth and success over the next three years as one of Canada’s most innovative and successful colleges. The Strategic Plan focuses our efforts on three key priorities to guide our annual business plans: providing unparalleled student experience and satisfaction; leading in applied research and innovation; and achieving operational excellence.

As a follow-up to our new Strategic Plan, I am pleased to announce that Niagara College’s 2013-2014 Annual Business Plan has been approved, and supports the goals and priorities set out in the strategic plan.

The 2013-14 Business Plan includes some very exciting plans for the upcoming year, and builds on our history of sound, prudent financial management to ensure NC has the optimal resources to deliver on our strategic priorities. Specifically, the balanced budget supports a business plan with a continued focus on program quality; continuous improvement in the delivery of our programs and services; increased levels of applied research and innovation; sustainable growth in student enrolment; and continued revenue diversification, including further increases in international revenue sources.

The Business Plan builds on NC’s strengths in supporting student success and building Niagara’s regional economy. Over the past several years, we have improved student services and developed targeted recruitment and growth strategies for domestic and international students. These efforts will continue over the coming year, and in addition, we will work to create pathways for students to continue their learning.

Business Plan and Budget highlights for the upcoming year include:

  • Budgeted total revenues are $135 million and total expenditures are $135 million, resulting in a balanced budget
  • Projected domestic enrolment growth of 4%
  • Total tuition fee revenue from domestic enrolment is budgeted to increase by 6% compared to 2012-13, driven by increased tuition rates of 3% and planned enrolment increases
  • International tuition revenues are budgeted to increase 13% over 2012-13
  • Launching the new one-year Baking and Pastry Certificate program
  • Developing an integrated student services model that will improve student services, including new technology and new facilities renovations
  • A $6 million Capital Budget that includes an expansion of the NC Teaching Brewery, and significant investments in facilities, information technology and instructional equipment renewal to ensure we have the state of the art facilities, teaching and learning environments that set us apart from other colleges
  • Growth and expansion of our applied research partnerships to support innovation in more Niagara businesses, supporting economic growth

The Budget for  2013-2014 has been balanced through identifying new revenue streams, containing costs, and prioritizing our resources to support ongoing operations and strategic objectives. While the budget is balanced and we have made significant advances in revenue diversification, it’s critical that we continue to plan for the potential impact that the current fiscal and political climate can have on the college operating budget.

Moving forward, our challenge is to be innovative and find new ways to effectively meet the needs of students as demand for NC programming continues to grow. Our focus on continued fiscal sustainability will enhance our ability to fund high-priority initiatives. As we grow, we must be prepared for new financial challenges, especially in the current environment of provincial fiscal restraint and a funding model that does not provide for inflationary cost pressures.

In recent years, we have been successful in meeting fiscal challenges thanks in large part to the ability of staff to identify new efficiencies and enrolment growth, while maintaining and enhancing the quality of our programs and services. Your continued commitment and resourcefulness is appreciated and will be of great value as we focus on our key strategic priorities over the next three years.

Copies of the 2013-14 Business Plan and the new Strategic Plan are available online. I encourage you to review both. If you have any questions about either plan, please contact your respective vice-president. As always, you can also feel free to contact me directly with your feedback at


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