Mt. A’s 2019-20 financial plan discussed at town hall meeting

Meeting covers tuition, salary and enrolment projections for upcoming budget

According to Mount Allison’s vice-president of finance, enrolment was high in 2012-13 with 2,500 students and has been steadily dropping, down to only 2,000 students in 2018-19. Bre Darlison/Argosy

On Oct. 17, two town hall meetings regarding the budget plan for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years were held. The town halls were open to the Mount Allison community and hosted by vice-president of finance and administration Robert Inglis and budget director Chris Milner.

According to Inglis, the three main drivers of the University’s annual budget are salaries, government grants and tuition payments. Much of the meeting revolved around tuition and projections about the University budget in relation to tuition numbers.

For the 2018-19 year, the University was working under an $809,000 deficit. The town hall discussed that enrolment has been substantially lower in recent years than in the past. According to Inglis, enrolment was high in 2012-13 with 2,500 students, and has been dropping since, down to only 2,000 students in 2018-19. Inglis explained why this might be the case: “There are less human beings in New Brunswick and in the Maritimes in general, and we recruit people. You can’t recruit students from a high school that is closed. I know it’s not that simple, but it’s part of that.” This year, however, Mt. A has a large incoming class. According to Inglis, this is largely due to a greater international student enrolment.

There was also some discussion at the town hall about how the president’s salary fits into the annual budget. “I understand that when we have a president and they [work] five years they get another year [of salary]. So, I guess Robert [Campbell] had two years’ salary after he finished? What would that represent [in this budget]?” asked biology professor Dr. Matt Litvak.

Inglis explained that this does not subtract from the annual budget because it has been accrued. “We do the same for all our academic administrators who have administrative leaves,” said Milner.

The budget meeting also featured information about the price of tuition and government grants, affordability and accessibility.

Inglis stated that a university with a higher tuition could still be financially accessible: “You might have a very financially accessible university with a higher tuition if you are then targeting exactly those students who need financial aid.” He backed up this reasoning by saying, “If you have a generally lower set tuition, that is paid by all students, regardless of their socio-economic environment.”

Looking ahead, Inglis and Milner are optimistic about the Mt. A budget. “Where Chris and I see it today, it is not unreasonable that we can balance the budget for 2021,” said Inglis.

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