Algonquin board of governors meetings are still exclusively only due to COVID-19 restrictions. Photo credit: Brett Thoms

Algonquin College projects a $1.9 million deficit for the first quarter of April 1, 2021.

This is down from the $10 million deficit projected in April 2021, according to financial figures from June 30, 2021 presented to the board of governors on Oct. 25, 2021 over zoom.

“Stronger than expected spring enrolment has resulted in higher tuition revenues and service revenues across the campus which does give us some optimism for the remainder of this fiscal year”, said Grant Perry, the chief financial officer of the college.

A 5.3 per cent increase in spring enrolment alone brought $3.9 million over projected revenue. The reintroduction of on-campus learning also contributed to lowering the college’s deficit.

For example, parking revenue going to the college increased by $237,000 due to increased demand for both short-term and long-term parking permits.

Bookstore revenue increased $719,000 from increased sales of computers, textbooks, drafting kits, clothing and e-texts sales.

For fall enrollment, as of Sept. 21, 2021, there were 17,606 students registered at Algonquin, 14,981 of which are domestic students and 2,625 international students. This is slightly down from the 17,944 students reported in February 2021.

As of Sept. 27, 2021,1,168 students have withdrawn from their programs. This means there is a 6.3 per cent withdrawal rate this year compared to the 5 per cent withdrawal rate in fall 2020 and the 4.4 per cent withdrawal rate in 2019 and 2018.

The meeting also saw the board approve a new program which will be offered in fall 2022.

The new program is called financial services – Canadian context and it is a graduate certificate aimed at international students. It aims to teach skills relevant to the fields of banking, insurance, financial planning and wealth management.

“It’s a two-year program specifically designed to support and learners transitioning into the Canadian work environment,” said Cyril McKelvie, chair of the academic and student affairs committee.

The board also approved a change in the business – management & entrepreneurship diploma program. The program will now offer a co-op option which will be effective fall 2022.

The board meeting and its minutes also revealed other facts about the current state of the college community.

· The college’s health services team provided 2,682 in-person appointments and 3,986 virtual appointments for medical care and other needs, like immunizations needed for medical clearance to program placements.

· On-campus residence saw a 15 per cent increase in occupancy rates.

· The college received $2.8 million from the government of Ontario for the personal support worker accelerated program. The program at Algonquin has a total of 357 students and is meant to fast-track students into the workforce to make up for personal support worker shortages in the province.

· Fall 2021 convocation was delayed until spring 2022 in the hope that an in-person ceremony will be possible by then.

“With the trajectory of the pandemic we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to have a different kind of ceremony that would be more in person than we’ve had in the last year and a half,” said Claude Brulé, president of the college.