Institutional Priorities

How the Model Works

 

The new budget model outlines the mechanisms and processes for the assignment of revenues and responsibility for costs across the University’s faculties and administrative units. It is activity-based: faculty revenues depend on teaching and research activities, the University’s two core mandates.


U of A Operating Budget Revenue

The university’s operating budget is comprised of five main sources revenue:

Campus Alberta Grant

Directed provincial grant funding

Tuition and fees

Research Support Fund

Investment Income

In the new model, these five revenue streams will be distributed to faculties and administrative units as indicated by the infographic.

Research Support Fund

The university receives Research Support Funds from the federal government to support the indirect costs of research. Half of these federal RSF funds are allocated to the faculties using the research-based metrics and the other half are allocated to the Research Services Office to cover a portion of the cost of administrative research support.

Campus Alberta Grant

Each year as part of the provincial budget process, the Government of Alberta allocates funding to all provincial post-secondary institutions through the Campus Alberta Grant. This funding makes up approximately 58% of the university’s operating revenues.

In the new model, Campus Alberta Grant revenue will be distributed to administrative units and faculties. Administrative units’ costs and subvention funding will be subtracted from the provincial grant before the remaining grant revenues are distributed to the faculties. The remaining provincial grant revenues will be allocated to the faculties based 70% on each faculty’s share of weighted domestic student program enrollments and 30% on four research metrics.

Directed Provincial Grant Funding

The Government of Alberta provides targeted pockets of funding to support specific programs, increased enrolment, and initiatives in some faculties. These directed funds are itemized within the annual Campus Alberta Grant letter that the university receives from the provincial government. 100% of these funds will be allocated to the designated faculties.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees make up about 30% of the university’s operating budget. The basic tuition paid by a student for a course will be allocated to the faculty offering the course. Both program differential fees and market modifier fees are allocated to the faculty offering the course. Faculties offering non-credit or cost recovery programs/courses will receive 85% of the tuition charged. The balance of the 15% of cost recovery and non-credit course tuition is allocated towards administrative costs.

Investment Income

Investment income on non-endowed funds represents approximately 2% of the university’s operating revenues. Over time (4-5 years), the university will gradually direct these funds into a Strategic Initiatives Fund to enable one-time funding of initiatives and priorities related the the university strategic plan.

Administrative Units

There are seven main central administrative units at the university, including:

  • Office of the President
  • Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic)
  • Research
  • Finance and Administration
  • Facilities and Operations
  • University Relations
  • Advancement

The Provost’s Office includes several other major administrative units:

  • Registrar’s Office
  • Dean of Students (including Student Services)
  • Faculty of Graduate Students and Research
  • Learning Services
  • Information Services and Technology
  • University of Alberta International

Administration costs will be subtracted from the provincial grant before the remaining grant revenues are distributed to the faculties. As the cost of these services represents a significant percentage of the current Campus Alberta grant, it is important to control these costs and maximize the resources allocated to the core purposes of the university:  teaching and research. Thus, a process will be put in place for the transparent evaluation and adjustment of central administrative unit budgets. Administrative units will present for approval their budgets, scope of services and activity levels to an Administrative Portfolio Review Committee. A portfolio review process will also be implemented to review portfolios in more depth on a five-year cycle.

Subvention Fund

The Subvention Fund is meant to support those academic units whose resource allocations under the new budget model cannot fully support the costs of providing programs that are considered priorities of the institution. This funding may extend for as long as faculty resources remain insufficient to support the designated activities or there is a change in the priorities of the institution; however, subvention should be reviewed on a regular basis (at least once every five years), with the form of the review process to be determined prior to the implementation of the model. Following a review, it may be determined that a certain initiative should no longer be subsidized through the subvention fund.

The terms of reference for the Subvention Fund will be determined in the pre-implementation phase, as well as processes for allocation, distribution, and periodic review. Accountability for the fund will rest with PEC-S; all decisions will be presented to Deans Council for comment and discussion.

70% of Faculty Allocation

The budget model allocates 70% of the net basic provincial grant to support the costs associated with teaching. The allocation is made on the basis of each faculty’s share of Basic Revenue Unit (BRU)-weighted domestic student program enrollments.  Approximately one-third of total faculty funding is allocated using the BRUs.

What is a BRU?

The BRU for a faculty is a weight that reflects the per student funding the faculty requires from the provincial grant, relative to the other faculties, to offer its programs to domestic students.  (Please note: Funding to support the teaching of international students is provided through basic tuition and International Differential Fees).

Domestic undergraduate student enrollments are measured using FLEs, while the number of graduate students is represented by the Full-time Equivalent (FTE), which equals the number of full time graduate students plus one-third of the number of part-time graduate students.

30% of Faculty Allocation

The budget model allocates 30% of the net provincial grant to fund the research-support activities of faculties. This allocation calculated using the following research metrics: 

  • Restricted Tri-Council research dollars expended (representing 5 of the 30 percentage points)
  • Restricted research dollars from non-Tri-Council external sources expended (5 of the 30 percentage points)
  • Number of successful external grant applications, both Tri-Council and non-Tri-Council (10 of the 30 percentage points)
  • Total dollars spent on graduate students or post-doctoral fellows (PDF) from restricted funds.  These include scholarships that flow through the University payroll system, such as Tri-Council scholarships (10 of the 30 percentage points).

Designated Faculty or Unit

The Government of Alberta provides targeted pockets of funding to support specific programs, increased enrolment, and initiatives in some faculties. These directed funds are itemized within the annual Campus Alberta Grant letter that the university receives from the provincial government. 100% of these funds will be allocated to the designated faculties.

Teaching/Home Faculty

The basic tuition paid by a student for a course will be allocated to the faculty offering the course. Both program differential fees and market modifier fees are allocated to the faculty offering the course. Faculties offering non-credit or cost recovery programs/courses will receive 85% of the tuition charged. The balance of the 15% of cost recovery and non-credit course tuition is allocated towards administrative costs.

Strategic Initiatives Fund

A Strategic Initiatives Fund (SIF) will be established to support strategic initiatives normally  identified in the university’s strategic plan. The Strategic Initiatives Fund will provide one-time funding only, not base funding, although the one-time funding may extend over a period of up to five years.

Any academic or administrative unit will be able to apply for funding; administrative units can apply for extraordinary projects only. The terms of reference for the fund, including submission process will be determined during the pre-implementation period.  The fund will be managed and distributed by PEC-S, with annual review and input from the deans.