The UNBC Bored of Governors approved the budget for 2016/2017. The votes was 8 in favour, 3 against and 2 abstentions. The opposition to the budget came from a lack of clarity around the auxiliary part of the budget also some board members felt cuts should of been considered by UNBC administration. UNBC adjusted or dipped into some of their various funds in order to do a one time allocation which did balanced the budget. The budget prior to doing these allocations was in deficit due to falling enrolment numbers. One of the adjustments was the scholarship fund and canceling the contribution to the fund for 2016/2017. Not contributing to the fund would not affect students who have already be promised scholarships from UNBC. President Daniel Weeks reassured the Board of Governors that the scholarship fund is healthy and can sustain this lack on contribution.
In order to create the budget the UNBC administration conducted many town hall meetings and open consultation sessions with Senate, faculty, students and staff. According one of members of the Board of Governors this budget is one of the most detailed budgets that they have seen in a long time. The pledge for transparency that President Weeks made has led to a more detailed budget that included not just the operational part of the budget but also the reserve funds that are not important to the approval of the budget. The detail of the budget at times lead to confusion on the part of some of the members.
The one time cuts that were done this year will lead to a balanced budget but are not something that can be done again. The scholarship contribution will have to be made next year according to UNBC President Daniel Weeks. He is also optimistic and feels that with the aggressive recruiting strategies that the university is currently implementing that they will be able in increase enrolment numbers for the future.
UNBC is also in the process of creating an academic plan that will feed into the creation of future fiscal budgets. In order to create that plan UNBC is currently forming committees. These committees will look at ways that UNBC can move forward in the future these committees will be made up of students, faculty, staff and administrators.
By Grant Bachand (twitter) @grantbachand