College balances budget

The board of governors at Okanagan College has passed a balanced budget, but it wasn’t easy.

The $94.95-million operating budget allows the school to continue providing programs and services throughout the region, without any service reductions or layoffs for the coming fiscal year. But it will raise tuition fees.

“It wasn’t easy, and we are looking to departments and our staff to find some significant savings in a variety of areas,” said Tom Styffe, chair of the board.

“When we first reviewed our budget for the coming year, we were facing a seven-digit issue, created by a number of pressures. Administration and staff have found ways to increase revenue through growth in some areas, and means to pare expenditures that allow us to balance the budget.”

The budget includes a provision for increased revenue from tuition – due to more international students and continuing studies activity – and from a two per cent increase in tuition rates.

That means for a full-time student taking university transfer arts, the increase will add about $32.67 per semester, bringing the total to $1,666.11.

For a student taking the office assistant program, the increase will add about $42.82 for the program (total tuition of $2,183.79). A Level 1 Auto Service Technician apprentice will see tuition increase by about $14.50 to $739.63.

The board also made a decision to hold off on charging fees for either Adult Basic Education or English as a Second Language courses for domestic students for the 2015-16 year. The province recently changed policy to allow public institutions to charge for those program areas, and announced funding reductions, although those were offset with one-time transitional funding for the coming year.

The college will spend the next couple of months developing a plan for which courses the institution might charge tuition for, with the board agreeing to review the plan before implementing any fees.


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