The University Budget

2020 Budget Information 

Updated: March 30, 2020

On February 27, 2020, the University of Alberta received an 11% cut to our provincial funding in the Government of Alberta’s 2020 budget. This reduction in provincial funding includes an overall 8.9% cut to our Campus Alberta grant and another 2% reduction from the elimination of targeted enrolment expansion as a separately funded item.

As required by provincial legislation,a balanced budget will be submitted to the provincial government on March 31, 2020. Key elements of the budget include:

Focus on academic activities: Maintaining high-quality education and research is the priority. To that end, there will be an average 12.8% reduction to administrative units, and an average reduction of 8.3% to faculties. The reduction to the faculties has been offset by an average 7% increase to tuition.

Administrative units will not have their reductions offset by tuition revenues. This will help to reduce the impact on students’ learning experience and frontline services while challenging us to focus on reducing administrative costs. When the budget is rolled out on April 1, each faculty will receive a differential cut as per the implementation of the new budget model.

Student Aid: An average 7% tuition increase is significant for students, so the budget also includes an increase to student financial aid. For 2020-21,15% of the net increase to domestic tuition will be dedicated to student financial support, and we will continue to direct 7.55% of all international tuition to support international students.

Job losses: By the end of the fiscal year on March 31, 2020, we project a total of 400 lost jobs in 2019-20 through attrition, lay offs, retirements and position closures. For 2020-21, we estimate a loss of approximately 635 additional positions.

Next Steps: To deal with the reduction in funding and resulting loss of positions, fundamental restructuring will be required and the senior leadership team is exploring all options and beginning to implement plans. These include:

  • Tightening hiring constraints significantly (a near total hiring freeze)
  • Closing low enrolment programs (30 closed during 2019-20 and more to follow)
  • Improving efficiency and effectiveness in administrative processes, using information from the first set of data from our participation in an international administrative benchmarking program 
  • Academic restructuring
  • Heightening restrictions on non-essential travel and hosting costs
  • Vacating leased space
  • Re-examining supplier and services contracts for savings
  • Deferring energy management program investments for 20-21
  • Closing one or more library locations
  • Decommissioning and demolishing buildings that no longer meet current teaching and research needs

For detailed information on the 2020-21 budget, please see The University Budget.


More about Resource Planning and the university budget

A primary responsibility of Resource Planning is the development of an annual consolidated budget for the University of Alberta. The budget is intended to provide a consolidated budget for the upcoming fiscal year as well as a projected budget for the two subsequent years.  The consolidated budget is developed in accordance with Public Sector Accounting Standards and the requirements established by the Government of Alberta for the University’s Comprehensive Institutional Plan.

The University of Alberta Budget document provides a comprehensive overview of the university’s budget, inclusive of all its component parts. It has been developed internally, for our university community. Free from the prescriptive requirements of the CIP, this document is meant to provide a plain language review of the budget. Our goal is to increase both the transparency and understanding of the university’s budget. It is also meant to highlight considerations that have informed assumptions and decisions.