Budget Model 2.0

Our budget model guides how we organize the university’s revenues and costs. It’s built using principles to best support our teaching and research goals and our professional services. The new model is currently in the design phase with a target launch of the Budget 2024-2025 cycle.

Find out about upcoming opportunities for engagement by visiting Budget Model Engagements.

Changing Models

Since the last budget model was developed, the university has been impacted by cuts to operating grant funds of $222 million (34%) and we have transformed our operating model to deliver more of our services centrally.

These changes have meant big shifts to our costs and revenues, leading to the current model. Beyond this, the current model has four limitations in its ability to effectively steer us towards the University of Alberta for Tomorrow (UAT) goals.

The current model:

  • leaves units overly exposed to funding shocks, which have been experienced over the past three years
  • limits our capacity for long-term planning, with planning dominated by year-on-year changes in government grants
  • does not secure stable funding for university-wide strategic initiatives, which are critical to our future success
  • does not create the right incentives with respect to enrollment growth, teaching and research

We need a new model that:

  • creates the right incentives with respect to our growth and research targets
  • controls certain areas of cost
  • reduces our exposure to external funding shocks
  • supports us to plan ahead, rather than responding to year-over-year fluctuations in the operating grant
  • ensures that our limited resources are directed in a way that achieves the goals stated in UAT
  • provides a level of transparency and clarity into the university budget that can enable fully informed

The budget model outlines the mechanisms and processes for the assignment of revenues and responsibility for costs across the university's faculties and administrative units.

Who is leading this change?

Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Verna Yiu, and Vice-President (University Services and Finance) Todd Gilchrist are the executive sponsors of this project. They are supported by a Budget Model Design Group and Expert Working Groups with representation from each faculty and portfolio.

You can contact the Budget Model Team at budget@ualberta.ca.

Design Process

The design of the new budget model involves people from each faculty and portfolio at the university. A key part of the design is a series of five Expert Working Groups.

The groups focus on the following topics:

  • Tuition Revenue Sharing
  • Central Services & Functional Efficiency
  • Research Support & Growth
  • Strategic Initiatives & Subvention
  • Multi-year Budget Mechanisms, Performance Incentives & Carry-forwards

Each Expert Working Group is a dedicated forum to provide expertise and input to inform key budget model design choices. Their recommendations will help form the final budget model and supporting policy and process changes.