University of Saskatchewan responds to provincial budget announcement

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is pleased the government has recognized the importance of post-secondary education in today's provincial budget announcement, especially given realities of the 2015-16 fiscal landscape for the province.

"We appreciate the provincial government's ongoing recognition of the importance of post-secondary education, innovation and research as shown by an increase in funding in 2015-16," said Interim President Gordon Barnhart. "Education is one of the most important investments a province can make, allowing institutions such as ours to support the development of well-educated citizens, employees and leaders for our province. In addition, the university's research activities have a positive impact throughout communities across Saskatchewan."

In the 2015-16 provincial budget, the U of S received an approximate one per cent increase to the base operating grant and targeted funding, along with $21 million in capital funding to support the Health Sciences Building and preventative maintenance and renewal. In light of the government's fiscal challenges and funds currently accumulated in University of Saskatchewan savings, the government is implementing a one-time holdback of $20 million from the 2015-16 U of S operating grant. In total, the university will receive $353.8 million in 2015-16.

Today's announcement did not include funding allocations for VIDO-Intervac and the Canadian Light Source as this funding, which represented $9.7 million in 2014-15, will now be provided by Innovation Saskatchewan. Innovation Saskatchewan is expected to announce their funding allocations in late March.

"The base grant increase we received does not meet the level of inflation and there is a one-time holdback, but I am confident that we will be able to live within our means in 2015-16," said Barnhart. "At this time I can say that our university operations, including services to students, research, programs and staff, will be unaffected by a one-time reliance on our savings. We will continue to work closely with the province to ensure they are aware of our funding priorities and the impact this will have on our university's overall financial picture this year and moving forward."

To balance the budget this upcoming year, the university will look to projects where money is earmarked for use, but the intended initiative or expenditure is not set to begin until future years. "We are confident the government will restore funding in future years when the university needs these funds for the projects for which they were allocated," said Barnhart.

In 2014-15, provincial funding made up approximately 67 per cent of university operating revenue. The university will announce its 2015-16 budget in June after it is approved by the U of S Board of Governors.


For more information, contact:

Jennifer Robertson

Communications Officer

University of Saskatchewan

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