Algonquin’s Board of Governors approved a $380 million budget for 2018-19, with the college expected to take in roughly $365 million in revenue this year — leaving a gap of $15 million.
The deficit results from Bill 148 known as the Fair Work Places, Better Jobs Act, which is expected to take substantial toll on the college. The total cost of implementing Bill 148 for the college is expected to be $25 million.
While it was not the raise in minimum wage which caused a dent in the college’s coffers, it was the section of the bill which requires the college to pay part-time and full-time staff equally for the same work.
This will force the college into an unbalanced budget for the first time in years. College administration isn’t too worried about though.
“We have good strong reserves that will allow us to weather these changes,” president Cheryl Jensen said at a town hall on Feb. 27.
The reserve fund Jensen is referring to is a $70 million pool of money the college has saved over time. The college predicts it will be back on financial track by 2021.
Some things the budget will be covering that students will see directly is the new DARE district and library. The college has put a significant amount of funding into this project and hopes it will be ready for students returning in the fall.
The budget also covers the cost of the new learning management system (LMS) Brightspace, which will be implemented next semester .
Another thing students will notice returning in the fall will be a three per cent tuition hike. On the average tuition, this hike translates to an extra $88 for students annually. The amount varies from program to program as tuition changes.
“The tuition has been raised to keep in line with inflation,” vice president Duane McNair said. The three pe rcent tuition hike is consistent with many other Ontario colleges, McNair went on to say. In Ontario, three per cent is the most a college can raise its tuition by annually.