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HomeNews2015's Budget Advisory Committee Report is here!

2015’s Budget Advisory Committee Report is here!

Dalhousie’s Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) has recommended a three per cent increase in tuition fees and cuts in funding to faculty budgets in the 2015-16 draft budget plan released on March 5.

As well, the BAC advised a three per cent increase in auxiliary facilities renewal fees, a $500,000 increase to the facilities renewal budget and an increase of $1.7 million to the strategic initiatives budget.

The BAC report discusses the unsustainability of low government funding and rising operating costs. The report’s recommendations assume a one per cent increase in overall student enrolment and a one per cent increase in grant funding from the provincial government.

Ramz Aziz, Dalhousie Student Union president, says he questions how these assumptions are made and wonders why alternative solutions, such as administrative efficiency, redistribution of funds and compensation are not discussed.

Last year, enrolment figures were underestimated, which resulted in a monetary surplus that went to paying off the deficit.

“What can be done to change that practice?” says Aziz. “That’s the question we want to put forward to the administration.”

Some students are also upset that the BAC has disregarded their opinion on budgetary issues.

“BAC presentations have, over the past two years, been given poor notice and publicity and the DSU executive has not encouraged students to attend or be educated on the issues,” said Anthony Rosborough, Law Students’ Society president, in an email.

“The process has been difficult to participate in,” says Aziz, addressing the same issue. “It’s not clear how students interact with any one piece of it.”

Aziz says students were invited to a feedback session with the BAC in November, but that it was poorly organized and scheduled only six days in advance, making it difficult to gather students. He also says that information about the BAC has been sent to a “dummy” e-mail account, instead of official DSU accounts.

For some students, recommendations to raise fees will have the biggest impact.

“Students in law have been impacted mostly by the increase in fees rather than tuition,” said Rosborough. “Law students will pay over $14,000 in tuition next year, but with the fees included, the total amount will be over $18,000.”

“The [BAC] report does not tell the whole story,” says Rosborough.

A final report on the 2015-16 operating budget plan will be released at the end of March.

“No one has a silver bullet here. That’s part of the challenge,” says Aziz. “We need to start having the conversation so we can come up with the answer.”

The BAC is accepting written feedback, suggestions and comments from all members of the university community about issues presented in the report until March 20. Comments should be sent to Linda Penny, Linda.Penny@dal.ca, in Financial Services.

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