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Vancouver Island University unveils plan to reduce $20-million deficit

University immediately cutting budget of non-academic operations by five per cent
Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus. (News Bulletin file photo)

Vancouver Island University, which has been running deficits since before the pandemic, has announced a plan to try to balance its books by 2026-27.

In a press release, VIU said it faces the same issues as other post-secondary institutions, in that enrolment was affected during the COVID-19 pandemic and it has not recovered and has led to “increased costs to deliver student services for fewer students.” Coupled with higher-than-usual inflation, the university grappling with a $20.2-million deficit for the 2023-24 school year.

The university has established a 10-per cent budget reduction target for its academic program delivery and its non-academic operations to be reached by 2025-26, noted the press release. Academic departments are not required to make any budget reductions in the current academic year, but non-academic operations are required to meet half of the 10-per cent target in the current financial year and the remaining five per cent by 2025-26. Academic departments will be required to meet the 10 per cent target by 2025-26.

VIU will examine operations in that three-year time frame, the press release said, looking for ways to reduce costs, while maintaining its commitment to learning and exploring “measures to increase revenues.”

The university recently announced it would not be providing support for the ElderCollege condinuing education program after Dec. 31.

Emily Huner, VIU chief financial officer and vice-president of administration, said she is confident measures being implemented will allow the university to meet student needs, while offering “high-quality education.”

“While the pandemic negatively affected our financial situation, it has also allowed us to focus on becoming resilient in the long term,” she said in the press release. “Our commitments to student support and experiential opportunities remain a top priority.”

During this process, VIU said it will not deviate from its commitment to its five-year strategic plan, released in 2021.

RELATED: VIU dealing with multi-million dollar deficits

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