Red Deer College plans for new budget realities
Five weeks after the release of the 2019 Alberta Budget, Red Deer College shared its multi-year planning scenario that will help to address the shortfall, assist with university transition and ensure future sustainability.
“In the time since the budget was released, we’ve gathered additional information from the Ministry, and this has allowed us to have productive conversations that will help us to address this year’s reduction, while also looking ahead to future years,” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, President. “The College has already discovered efficiencies, which will help to minimize the impact of the budget challenges.”
RDC has undertaken planning on two levels: creating a budget plan to realize savings for this fiscal year (July 2019 to June 2020), and also developing a three-year fiscal sustainability plan, which will begin in the 2020/2021 fiscal year.
The 2019/2020 budget plan addresses RDC’s 2.4 per cent ($1.2 million) reduction to the Campus Alberta Grant for this fiscal year. The College is looking at several key areas for cost savings.
“RDC will account for its budget reduction by reducing costs that do not impact services and programming to students. When it comes to staffing, we’re being strategic with reviewing vacancies, and we’ve implemented a three-month delay for hiring new staff for vacant budgeted positions. But, we do not plan to make workforce reduction our primary solution in our 2019-20 budget,” says Dr. Nunoda.
The College has undertaken efficiency and process reviews through the Lean Six Sigma model for the past several months, and implementation of these projects will result in business improvements and cost savings. Additionally, all non-contractual operating costs will be reviewed to determine which expenditures can be delayed, eliminated or reduced.
Looking ahead, RDC has created a three-year scenario plan, which is based on projected Campus Alberta Grant reductions between three to five per cent each year for the next three fiscal years. Strategies to address these reductions include:
- increasing domestic student enrolment in RDC’s current and future programs, such as proposed bachelor degrees in Arts, Education, Science (majoring in Biological Sciences) and Business Administration
- international student enrolment growth; an international office is being created to support students
- increasing tuition for domestic and international students, with the recent elimination of the tuition freeze by the Government of Alberta
- increased revenue in ancillary services activities, employer partnerships and business and industry partnerships. This includes areas such as growth in conference and event hosting, applied research and development projects where RDC has proven success collaborating with businesses and entrepreneurs in our region, and corporate training.
- Reducing operating costs by continuing with Lean Six Sigma projects, allowing the College to be more efficient and to be positioned for university growth with minimal growth in administrative burden
“The College is a strong, well-managed institution, and although we will undoubtedly have some challenges, we are well positioned to navigate a tough provincial budget,” says Dr. Nunoda. “I look forward to leading our institution through this time of transformative change to ensure our fiscal sustainability to best serve our learners and communities now and in future years.”