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College passes $95-million balanced budget
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has passed a $94.95 million operating budget for the coming fiscal year.

“We have passed a balanced operating budget that allows us to continue to provide programs and services throughout the region, without any service reductions or layoffs,” explains Okanagan College Board of Governors Chair Tom Styffe.

“It wasn’t easy, and we are looking to departments and our staff to find some significant savings in a variety of areas,” observed Styffe.

“When we first reviewed our budget for the coming year, we were facing a seven-digit issue, created by a number of pressures. Administration and staff have found ways to increase revenue through growth in some areas, and means to pare expenditures that allow us to balance the budget.”

The Board’s budget included provision for increased tuition revenue, both from growth in the number of international students and Continuing Studies activity and from a two per cent increase in tuition rates. 

For a full-time student taking university transfer arts, the increase will add about $32.67 per semester, bringing a semester’s tuition to $1,666.11. For a student taking the office assistant program, the increase will add about $42.82 for the program (total tuition of $2,183.79). A Level 1 Auto Service Technician apprentice will see tuition increase by about $14.50 to $739.63.

The Board also made a decision to hold off charging fees for either Adult Basic Education or English as a Second Language courses for domestic students for the 2015-16 year. The province recently changed policy to allow public institutions to charge for those program areas, and announced funding reductions, although those were offset with one-time transitional funding for the coming year.

Over the course of the next several months, Okanagan College is to develop a plan for which courses the institution might charge tuition for. The Board will review that plan before implementing any fees.

“We believe it is important to do the research about how ABE and ESL fees may affect our students,” said Styffe. “At a time when so many jobs require higher education, there is a great deal of interest in preserving access to these program areas.”