A new budget model for TRU

Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω

TRU has chosen this fiscal year to do a budget model review. The university is re-evaluating the way it allocates its $168 million in a routine process that hasn’t been done in five years. These changes will be reflected in the 2015-16 annual budget.

TRU is undergoing a budget model review that will evaluate how its $168 million is allocated. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

TRU is undergoing a budget model review that will evaluate how its $168 million is allocated. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

Vice president of administration and finance, Matt Milovick said every five years is standard for reviewing the budget model. Simon Fraser University’s VP administration and finance Pat Hibbitts, said SFU does a budget model review about every five years, as well.

“As good administrators I think the onus is on us to really look at systems with some frequency,” said Milovick.

At the board of governor’s meeting on Sept. 20, Milovick said there was a desire to re-evaluate how the institution does its budgeting and the intent would be to look at different ways of allocating resources. Milovick said the current model may have been the right allocation at the time, but things have evolved.

“The grant of the institution hasn’t changed significantly, at least not in a positive way, and tuitions have grown slightly. You see more tuition depending on where the students are enrolling,” Milovick said. “So it’s good to get a sense if we have the right distribution of revenues in our current model.”

“Are the faculties and departments that we have resourced appropriately?” he asked.

The review was discussed at the beginning of September with the budget committee of senate (BCOS) and will be on the agenda again in October when the methodology of the current budget will be analyzed.

The BCOS will form a sub-committee to spearhead the budget review process and look at other models.

“In the way that we allocate our resources there are some areas that really struggle,” Milovick said.

Areas that have been reliant on the government grants as their only source of funding haven’t seen a positive increase in five years, so critical services like student services have been limited, he said.

The budget model will also have to take into consideration the new strategic plan and allow for investment in areas that the university decides are priorities, Milovick said.

Because the current model sees the faculties keeping all the tuitions, faculties that are inexpensive to run and have high enrolment numbers have high revenue sources. One consideration will be whether those areas need all those resources, Milovick said.

“There isn’t a faculty or a unit that has a target on its back,” he said. “We are looking at everybody.”

The budget model review will take a full fiscal year, so that all areas of the university are involved in the process, rather than an isolated evaluation.

“You don’t get support or buy-in that way. People don’t understand it, people are afraid of change,” Milovick said. ”Change is hard, so you have to socialize the community.”

The first task of the sub-committee will be to form a working plan for the next year.