Administration cuts back on discretionary spending

In light of the current financial crisis, all faculties, schools and administrative units at the University of Manitoba have been asked to curb discretionary spending.

“The university is facing significant challenges with its budget and will see a $36.4 million shortfall in 2010,” said U of M President David Barnard at a town-hall meeting held Oct. 15.

The budgetary shortfall at the U of M has come at the same time the decade-long tuition freeze has been lifted.

“The lifting of the tuition freeze has not had a significant impact on the university’s finances,” explained university spokesperson, John Danakas.

Each year, the U of M receives a sum of money, known as a base grant, per standard student
from the provincial government. The number of standard students is calculated by dividing the total credit hours taught at the university by a full course load of 30 credit hours.

For the 2008-09 school year, the U of M received $13,072 from the provincial government per standard student.

“The university will receive a 4.5 per cent increase on base grants for the 2009-10 school year,” continued Danakas. “With the lifting of the tuition freeze, base tuition increases of 4.5 per cent have also been permitted.”

Currently, 62 per cent of the expenditures at U of M pay for class instruction and non-sponsored research. The next-largest expense for the university, at almost 11 per cent of the budget, is the operation of the physical plant department.

Physical plant is responsible for the maintenance of the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses, as well as the Glenlea, Delta Marsh and Star Lake research stations, and the President’s residence.

It was recently announced that the Delta Marsh Research Station would be closed from Nov. 30 of this year, to May of 2010, in an effort to control costs.

One of the university’s next-largest areas of spending is on administration, a function scrutinized at any institution.

“The U of M currently ranks third amongst all Canadian medical doctoral institutions when it comes to administrative spending,” said Joanne Dyer, the university’s budget officer.

“We presently commit 6.4 per cent of our expenditures towards administration, which ranks us as third-lowest in the country in terms of the proportion of our budget committed to administration.”