To the MSVU community,
At its meeting held last night (April 20, 2023), the Mount Saint Vincent University Board of Governors approved the University’s 2023/2024 operating budget. A budget shortfall is projected this year, while making modest essential investments in academics, student supports and administrative services. The budget is accompanied by a plan for budget recovery through strategic growth.
Context and process
Planning for MSVU’s 2023/2024 sought to prioritize alignment with MSVU’s strategic priorities (including the continued provision of a quality student experience); sustainable year-over-year operations with a view to the long-term; and consultation with the University community.
Financial challenges impacting this year’s budget include enrolment uncertainty (MSVU experienced a decrease in enrolment in the 2022/2023 academic year); continued decreased ancillary revenues, for example Conference Services; and an increase of only 1% to our operating grant from the provincial government.
Town halls were scheduled for students, staff and faculty. Discussions were also held with Management Forum, the University Budget Advisory Committee (with members including students, faculty and staff), the President, and the Board of Governors’ Finance Committee who ultimately approved this year’s draft budget for recommendation to the University’s Board of Governors. The draft budget was also shared in advance with the University’s Senate.
We continue to invest in academics and the student experience, including through faculty renewal. We’ve also made select investments to advance equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility, and allocated short-term funding for certain strategic and growth opportunities.
Though a shortfall budget is projected this year, our plan for budget recovery is focused on revenue growth, greater scrutiny in spending across the University effective immediately, and process improvements for best use of resources. Our aim is to return to a balanced budget by 2024/2025.
In addition to the budget recovery plans noted above, the Board made the difficult decision to approve a tuition increase of 3% for the 2023/2024 academic year. Any decision by the Board to raise tuition is taken very seriously. To help students who need financial support, MSVU will continue to invest more than $3 million in scholarships and bursaries in 2023/2024, as in years past.
Additionally, the budget plans for an adjustment to certain fees that have remained comparatively low for many years, for example an increase to the athletics and recreation fee of $10 per unit of credit. A new facilities fee of $20 per unit of credit will help address deferred maintenance of campus infrastructure (a similar fee has long existed at other universities).
Sincere thanks to all those who have helped inform this year’s budget.
As always, we will take what we have learned from this year’s budget planning process and look to make improvements for next year.
Please be in touch if you have any questions.
Interim Vice-President Administration
Mount Saint Vincent University