UBC Board of Governors approves balanced operating budget for 2024/25

UBC is reporting a healthy financial position as part of its 2024/25 budget , approved by the Board of Governors this week.

The budget report acknowledges that UBC, like many other universities, is navigating a challenging financial landscape. Broader economic conditions, geopolitical tensions, and sector-specific issues are creating a measure of uncertainty for post-secondaries in Canada and beyond. Despite these challenges, the university forecasts a balanced operating budget for 2024/25.

"UBC is globally recognized for our academic and research excellence," says Gage Averill, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, UBC Vancouver. "Supporting this outstanding learning environment and enhancing our research impact continue to be the overall priorities for the university in the coming years."

Active management of revenues, thoughtful efforts to reduce expenditures, and steady government support from the Province of British Columbia have enabled UBC to navigate the challenging financial environment. The operating budget for 2024/25 (the funding that covers the university’s day-to-day activities) is forecasting a balanced position, while the consolidated budget (which includes funding restricted for specific purposes like research and capital projects) is projecting a $94 million surplus. Leading credit rating agencies continue to consider UBC as having an "excellent market position" and "extremely strong enterprise profile."

Frank Laezza, Vice-President, Finance & Operations, adds: "Our financial plan is strategically designed to both enable the ongoing financial sustainability of UBC, and to further our mission of inspiring people, ideas, and actions for a better world. We are being responsive to the current financial environment and taking a prudent approach to safeguard UBC against potential long-term challenges."

In addition to fortifying the university’s long-term financial sustainability, the budget is designed to protect and enhance the academic mission, drive positive social change, and holistically support students. UBC is actively making investments in faculty recruitment, research and learning support, and core operating technologies. Investments in new academic facilities and research infrastructure, such as the School of Biomedical Engineering and Gateway Buildings in Vancouver and the x?l sic snpaxnwixwtn building in the Okanagan, also support UBC’s growth as a world-class university.

"The budget for the coming year ensures that our limited resources are making the biggest impact in support of teaching, learning, and research," says Lesley Cormack, Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, UBC Okanagan. "In addition to advancing the health and vitality of our academic mission, it demonstrates our commitment to supporting our students and our community."

A good proxy of research excellence and impact, over $753 million is projected in research investment through 2024/25--mainly from government agencies and non-profit funding. The budget also earmarks a further $54 million from the Academic Excellence Funds (UBCV) and $16 million from the Excellence Fund (UBCO) to enhance and amplify academic transformation and research excellence.

Budget 2024/25 will sustain investments in academic and non-academic supports for students to enable their success inside and outside of the classroom. This includes $2 million in continued funding to expand mental health and wellbeing supports, $4 million from 2024 to 2031 to expand the Work Learn program, and $33 million from 2024 to 2027 to enable a bursary top-up program for undergraduate domestic students.

While UBC is in a healthy position due to careful financial oversight, strengthening its long-term financial resilience remains a top priority. "Over time, our strategy and our investments have supported UBC in becoming one of the top 40 universities in the world," adds Laezza. "Our prudent financial management approach will ensure we can continue to transform learning, push the boundaries in research, and attract outstanding faculty and students from around the world."

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