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Okanagan College adapts to budget cuts by upping revenue

Okanagan College's board of governors approved a $100-million operating budget for 2016/2017.
April 01, 2016 - 6:30 PM

INCREASES TO INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION, CORPORATE SERVICE CONTRACTS HELP OFFSET DECLINE

OKANAGAN - It’s a milestone, nothing more, the fact that Okanagan College has just passed its first $100-million budget.

More important to the college’s vice-president of finance Roy Daykin is there were no cuts to student services even in the face of budget pressure from the Ministry of Advanced Education.

“We are well positioned to support and grow with the Okanagan region," Daykin says. "We have had no service reductions this year, no program reductions and we don’t anticipate any next year or the year after that.”

Okanagan College and the entire college sector were subject to a $50-million budget cut in 2012 to be phased in over three years, resulting in a permanent reduction of just over a $1 million to the college’s base budget.

That austerity measure ended this year, although Daykin says budget pressure continues indirectly through the lack of inflationary funding, something he says has been the case for many years.

“This government is no different. The NDP did it before the Liberals and the SoCreds before them."

Daykin says the ministry has funded collective agreements with unionzed workers through the next three years but has provided no extra funding, forcing the college to absorb inflationary increases as best it can.

“There are no more cuts planned but we’re also not getting that money back,” he says.

But instead of focusing on cuts, Daykin says the college has worked hard to expand its revenue streams in such areas as international education, continuing studies and corporate service contracts.

“From my perspective, it’s much better to focus on growing revenue streams than to focus on reductions,” Daykin adds.

Okanagan College has approximately 6,500 full time students at its four main campuses in Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and Salmon Arm.


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