University hopeful amid financial challenges

Provincial budget gives University of Alberta time to plan and room for optimism, says president.


(Edmonton) The funding envelope for Alberta’s post-secondary system will be reduced by 1.4 per cent for the coming year and 2.7 per cent in 2016-17, according to details of the provincial government’s 2015-16 budget announced March 26.

“This is a very good outcome,” said University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera, “much better than many were expecting. The provincial government is facing financial pressures, but they’ve demonstrated they understand the importance of post-secondary to Alberta’s future.”

“We have time to assess and plan, and explore further opportunities for revenue generation,” she continued. “I’m very optimistic and confident that we’ll find solutions that will ensure the U of A is strong, sustainable and able to deliver excellence in teaching and research.”

In this year’s Comprehensive Institutional Plan, the university put forward a budget that reflected a zero per cent increase in the Campus Alberta grant, noting that if there were a reduction, the university would carry an operating deficit for 2015-16 if necessary to provide sufficient time to plan and implement changes.

Samarasekera said she will update the campus community in greater detail about the Comprehensive Institutional Plan and the 2015-16 institutional budget during a campus forum March 31. The forum begins at 3:30 p.m. in room 150 in the Telus Centre.