Following seven consecutive years of in-year budget cuts, including $6.2 million last year, Trent is projecting a small budget surplus for this academic year.
Last April, Trent budgeted half a million dollars to compensate for the possibility that Trent’s enrollment would not increase. On October 14, the Board of Governors heard that Trent will spend $138,000 less this full amount. The surplus is due to this contingency fund and savings on instructional and non-instructional staff salaries and benefits.
This fall, Trent received $1.2 million less in tuition and government grants than was budgeted for because enrollment failed to grow again this year. The salary and benefits savings and the $500,000 contingency cushioned that blow however, resulting in the small surplus.
In-year cuts won’t be made, but the budget approved last April already included substantial cuts to “virtually all departments,” as VP Academic and Provost Gary Boire stated at the time.
More cuts are likely to come in the 2012-2013 budget to be drafted next spring as a result of this year’s low enrollment and Trent’s poor enrollment forecast for future years.
“That’s when the gloves are going to come off,” TCSA President Sheldon Willerton stated, speculating that next year is when more cost reduction measures and even program amalgamations are likely to occur.