In an effort to reduce the university’s costs, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Kelley told members of Concordia’s Board of Governors that there needs to be fewer courses and sections offered to students. Kelley explained at the June 7 meeting that this is a necessary measure for the university to meet its deficit targets.
A significant part of Concordia’s recent financial troubles stem from the 2012-13 provincial government’s funding slash of $13.2 million that caused the university to declare a deficit of $7.5 million.
Concordia’s academic side will take a 2.5 per cent budget cut while all other university sectors will see a 6.6 per cent cut. Decisions on what services, programs and personnel will need to be reduced in order to meet the new budget will be up to individual departments. Although some cuts will be phased in gradually, students arriving for the fall semester will be directly affected by a reduced number of courses, and part-time faculty, as well as an increase in residence fees.
As graduate student representative Erik Chevrier pointed out in session, Concordia residence rates have increased to an amount he claims is unaffordable for the majority of the student population.
“I probably wouldn’t be able to afford to live in dorms, because the rent seems extremely high for single dwellings… some of them have increased as much as four per cent.”
However, it should be noted that included in the cost of the dormitory is telephone and Internet. Small single rooms in the downtown Grey Nuns residence have increased from $690.23 to $700.58 and $733.21 to 744.21. While large single rooms have increased from $763.90 to 775.36. This amounts to an increase of around $10.
It remains to be seen how students will be affected by cuts to other sectors of the university, but it looks as though students will be paying more for less.
As of the 2013/2014 academic year, students will be paying a tuition increase set by the provincial government of 2.6 per cent, which works out to approximately $52 per student. And yet, because of the university’s deficit, students won’t be gaining anything other than lighter wallets.
Professors are likely to be among the things students will lose as budget cuts force departments to let go of some part-time faculty with lower seniority.
It seems student opinion takes a backseat when cost reduction is the issue. Even winner of the award for Excellence in Teaching, Matthew Hays, has not been given courses for the upcoming fall semester.
“It certainly felt ironic or bittersweet when I received my award and then within 48 hours was informed that I wasn’t getting classes in the fall semester,” said Hays.
When asked what Concordia can still offer students, President Alan Shepard had this to say: “We offer them a whole world, a whole environment. We are one of the most urban universities in the country, with that comes incredible energy, commitment, innovation, and a kind of a grittiness to education where we’re right in the middle, right in the thick of things, we have world class programs and they’re still world class. We have a lot of offer.”
For more information on Concordia’s 2013-2014 budget visit http://www.concordia.ca/about/administration-and-governance/office-of-the-chief-financial-officer/2013_2014