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College Board passes $92.8 million budget for 2014-15

Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has passed a $92.8 million balanced budget for 2014-15 that includes tuition fee increases for domestic and international students.

“While this is a tight budget year that involves some adjustments, it also allows introduction of a new program in Sustainable Construction Management Technology, and anticipates a growth in our international student population,” explains Tom Styffe, Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors.

“We have seen pressure on our annual operating budget from several fronts. We began this budget process wrestling with an issue that was measured in seven figures. It has led to some tough decisions, including some position adjustments, but we have a responsibility to focus on the sustainability of our initiatives, with respect for student and community demand.”

Some positions will be reduced, taking advantage of retirements, and there are plans for layoffs of two part-time support positions, noted Styffe. “Where required, we are also looking at shifting positions to reflect demand for programs.”

Tuition increases are one source being used to address the financial pressures. Domestic student tuitions are increasing by two per cent, while international students – who have not seen an increase in the past five years – will see tuition increase by eight per cent in the coming year.

For a domestic student taking a full-time university transfer arts program at Okanagan College, tuition will increase from $3,203 annually to $3,267. Average tuition among all public post-secondary institutions in the province for an arts program is $3,636 annually. The average among B.C.’s colleges is $2,706 annually. While university transfer arts tuition is the comparator used by many organizations it paints a very small part of the picture at the College, which has 138 credential programs: 54 of Okanagan College’s programs are below provincial average in terms of tuition charged, while another four are at the provincial average. Another 12 programs have no provincial comparators. 68 programs charge above-average tuition.

For a student taking Okanagan College’s Legal Administrative Assistant Program in Litigation, for example, tuition in 2014-15 would increase from $1,787 to $1,823 – approximately 24 per cent less than the average charged for the program in other B.C. post-secondary institutions ($2,353).

The domestic student tuition increase is expected to generate approximately $313,371 in additional revenue, that will be offset by an expected reduction in enrolment ($1.23 million) in some program areas because of falling numbers of high school graduates.

International students, whose tuition hasn’t increased during the past five years at Okanagan College, will face an increase of eight per cent, from approx. $11,000 to $11,880. The average tuition charged to international students by B.C.’s colleges is $12,286. Increased tuition is expected to yield an additional $275,000, while increased international student enrolment is expected to provide an additional $638,735.