June 18, 2013
With the university’s budget for 2013-14 approved by the Board of Trustees, the planning process for 2014-15 and the two subsequent years is now underway. Units across the university have been asked to prepare detailed budget and staffing submissions by August.
“The new budget model provides transparency about resource allocations and cost drivers, which enhances our ability to create the right conditions for financial sustainability while advancing our core mission,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “This year, as we face a number of financial pressures, budget planning will include processes aimed at improving efficiency across the university.”
Deputy Provost Laeeque Daneshmend will lead a cost containment exercise, the goal of which is to identify opportunities to reduce costs across the institution. This work will proceed in conjunction with the development of the shared services’ submissions.
The guidelines for these submissions were circulated recently to budget officers in shared services units, asking them to create a three-year budget plan under two different scenarios — either a modest budget increase or reduction in the first year, with no changes in the following two years.
“These new guidelines ask our shared services departments to plan conservatively for the coming three years,” says Provost Harrison. “Overall, the goal is to hold the cost of shared services constant during that time.”
Queen’s faces a number of financial pressures on both the revenue and expense sides of the budget. The Ontario government has reduced per-student grants and capped tuition fee increases at three per cent annually, while Queen’s faces nearly $250 million of deferred maintenance along with a pressing need for new space on campus.
In addition, as of August 31, 2012 the Queen’s Pension Plan had a solvency deficit of $459 million. Unless interest rates and investment returns improve dramatically before the next valuation, or the government grants further solvency relief, the university will be required to begin solvency payments of an expected $35 million annually in 2015.
“Given these significant challenges, it has never been more important to ensure financial sustainability. This will preserve the transformative learning experience complemented by research excellence for which Queen’s is so well known,” says Provost Harrison.
The provost will make a presentation to the Queen's community on the approved 2013-14 budget at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, June 18 in the Ellis Hall auditorium.