NWCC presents provisional budget to Board of Governors
May 1, 2015
Northwest Community College (NWCC) presented its provisional 2015/16 budget to its Board of Governors April 17, 2015. The budget identified $1.4 million in cost-savings to address a shortfall in government funding and a decline in enrolment related revenue.
This shortfall has been mitigated primarily through working with NWCC’s unions and their members to come up with innovative solutions including early retirement incentives and voluntary severance. Some of those incentives have already been accepted and for others, that process is ongoing. This process has allowed NWCC to reduce the impact on people and courses.
Northwest Community College continues to see strong demand for Trades, First Nations Fine Arts, Business, Health and Workforce Training & Continuing Studies courses and programs. These areas remain robust with healthy enrolment numbers. Some University Credit courses, however, have seen low enrolment.
“Some University Credit courses with low enrolment – such as courses with as few as two or three students enrolled – may be reduced to find efficiencies in our course offerings,” said NWCC President Ken Burt. “However, it is important to note that University Credit courses will continue to be offered in Terrace, Prince Rupert and Smithers.”
Students will continue to be able to access University Credit courses in Prince Rupert and Terrace to complete Associate of Arts and Associate of Science Degrees. There will be University Credit courses available by videoconference and online at the Smithers campus. Should sufficient demand for courses increase, face-to-face offerings could be reintroduced in Smithers.
“Layoffs are the last resort for addressing this shortfall,” said Burt. “We are grateful for the help of our unions in working with us around early retirement and voluntary severance opportunities to reduce the impact on our faculty, staff and course offerings.”
Another change to occur in 2015/16 is the introduction of tuition fees for Career and College Preparation (CCP) courses (Adult Basic Education), due to provincial government reductions for this program. Supports will be put in place to assist students to access financial aid for these programs. In addition, the delivery of CCP will shift to better support students to transition into further post-secondary education programs and courses.
Staff and faculty are not the only people of the campus community affected by the drop in revenues. There has been an administrative salary freeze in place since 2009, and significant savings in this area has been achieved over the last six years. In addition, NWCC has not filled several vacant administrative positions, also resulting in savings.
The budget is now being shared with NWCC’s internal community over the next couple weeks. This will give employees and students an opportunity to provide feedback for consideration.
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