Budget 2012: Reduced spending means grim outlook for post-secondary education
"The only thing increasing in post-secondary education budgets is the forecast increase in tuition fee revenues. That's a pretty dismal message to our sector and one that runs at odds with the Premier's earlier claims that her job strategy would give priority for post-secondary education in BC," Davison noted.
"This budget will only intensify the pressure on our institutions to make further cuts in program offerings and student services. We need to see both of those strengthened, not undermined as this budget is doing," Davison stressed. "Making the problem even worse, this budget is going to cut capital spending at our institutions by close to $100 million. That will translate into more crowded institutions, equipment and lab facilities that don't keep pace with current technology and less maintenance of our existing facilities," Davison concluded.
2012 BC Budget Backgrounder
BC's 2012 fiscal plan shows some disturbing trends, trends that will put increasing pressures on the operating budgets of every post-secondary institution in BC. BC's Finance Minister, Kevin Falcon, says he wants "to challenge every institution to cut spending by 1%", a move that will only add to the already underfunded condition of BC's colleges, institutes and universities. What the Finance Minister does not say in his budget speech is that his government has, for the last decade, effectively cut real per-student operating grants by close to 9% since 2001.
The Minister of Finance's approach leaves very little in the way of significant changes in the government's current fiscal strategy funding. The trend lines that were evident in previous budgets continue on in this one. Particularly hard hit in this budget will be capital spending plans for every post-secondary institution. Falcon's plan calls for almost a $100 million cut in post-secondary education capital spending. While some of that spending translates into more buildings, a major portion of the cut in capital spending will mean less spending on the equipment and technology that is designed to keep our institutions current and relevant.
Affordability continues to be a major challenge for BC post-secondary students. Tuition fee revenues are projected to continue to rise over the next three years of the budget forecast by close to 3% per year. The projected drop in total enrolment across the system points to the affordability and access crunch that comes with ever-rising tuition fees.
Summary of Key Budget Measures for Post-Secondary Education
|Total Operating Grants, 2011/2012:
|Total Operating Grants, 2012/2013:||$1.867 (Billion)|
|Total Student FTEs, 2011/2012:||206,320|
|Total Student FTEs, 2012/2013:||201,307|
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.