2015-2016 Budget FAQs

      • General Questions

        What is the budget process this year? How are decisions on the budget being made and communicated?

        The University Act informs the budget process, and the Board policy governs the development of the budget. By law, the Board of Governors must adopt a balanced budget. They also consider the University’s academic integrity and financial sustainability when making budget decisions.

        We will continue to provide updates on our website as we move forward with the budget process.

        How does the Strategic Plan impact the budget?

        Our 2015-2018 Strategic Plan identifies the direction and goals of the University, as well as the actions we will take to achieve those goals. The initiatives proposed in the Strategic Plan will affect the budget and guide where modifications will be necessary to ensure we deliver on our commitments.

        Why does Capilano University place a strong emphasis on international students?

        We are committed to providing a quality education for all students. International students enrich our classes and enable us to deliver on our commitment to provide graduates with relevant skills, including a global perspective. Our partnerships with international post-secondary institutions create opportunities for students to study abroad and prepare them for a future within the global community. Employers place a premium on students with international experience, and the Ministry of Advanced Education has stated that increasing international enrolments is a key priority.

        Annual international student tuition contributes approximately $12 million to Capilano University operations.

        Financial Questions

        What was the final accounting for the 2013/14 budget year?

        Capilano University ended the last fiscal year (at March 31, 2014) with an unexpected surplus of $1.337 million. This surplus was the result of two extraordinary circumstances that occurred in the fourth quarter—too late in the fiscal year to influence our final budget.

        The first resulted when we changed our investment management firm. When the search and bid process was complete, in January 2014, Capilano awarded its fund management contract to Philips Hagar & North (PHN). The transition to a new fund manager required that the funds held by the University be sold by the outgoing manager (Genus Capital) and bought by the incoming fund manager (PHN). That process took several weeks and concluded with the first report from Philips Hagar & North on April 10th that indicated the transition resulted in having more realized earnings than expected.

        The second factor related to the outcome of a GST audit by the Canada Revenue Agency. These two factors resulted in a surplus for 2013-2014. This surplus did not affect the funds available for 2014-2015 or the budget for 2014-2015.

        Without these two unexpected items, Capilano would have concluded the budget year with a $50,000 surplus—a remarkably small amount for a very complex organization with a $90 million budget.   

        When the books were closed on March 31st, 2014 the surplus was added to the prior accumulated surplus (all Capilano surpluses from previous years). Every university across BC is required to manage their surplus in this way. At this time, government does not allow post-secondary institutions to access their accumulated surplus.  We continue to advocate the government for a change in this practice that would allow us to take advantage of realized earnings like those unexpected earnings in the 2013/14 budget year. 

        Have the administrative salaries at the university increased over time?

        Administration includes deans, directors, vice presidents and the president. Capilano currently has two vice presidents, down from five in 2010-11. Capilano's administrative salaries are set by the Post-Secondary Employment Association (PSEA) and are less than the median at other post-secondary institutions. The Ministry has not granted administrative salary increases since 2009 whereas faculty and staff (represented by the CFA and COPE, respectively) have received annual increases in keeping with negotiated collective agreements.  

        What is the difference between one-time funds and ongoing funds?

        Ongoing funds support expenses that relate to ongoing commitments, such as salaries, benefits or the janitorial contracts that continue from year-to-year. One-time funds support expenses such as new program developments, consultants, etc.

        Does student tuition offset our program expenses?

        If we take all of our expenses into account, student tuition does not cover our costs. In fact, we estimate Cap subsidizes, on average, $300 per section.

        How do Capilano's tuition costs compare with others?

        Our average Arts & Science student tuition is $3,539 compared to a provincial average of $4,203. Our tuitions have been historically low and are limited by the government. The tuition-limit policy typically caps tuition increases at a rate of two per cent annually. As a result, Capilano’s tuition rises at a slower rate than other universities.

        Are financial standards being met?

        As a public institution we are required by law to have an independent audit performed each year. Our auditor of record is KPMG.

        KPMG's official opinion on our financial statements is that they have been prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the financial reporting provisions of Section 23.1 of the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act of the Province of British Columbia.

        In addition, the Office of the Auditor General participated in our audits for 2009-11 and Capilano welcomed a review by the Ministry in 2012/2013 as part of our financial process.  

        What accounting policies does Capilano use?

        The B.C. Government requires all universities to follow Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) standards.

        Student Questions

        Can new student fees be added to help generate revenue for the University and offset the budget?

        All mandatory student fees are subject to the government's tuition-limit policy.

        Is my program at risk of being cut?

        The preliminary budget for 2015/16 shows a $1.2 million shortfall.

        All post-secondary institutions in British Columbia are required to have a balanced budget. In order to achieve this, Capilano will be guided by the goals and objectives of its new Strategic Plan and will explore all possible options, including:  increasing revenue generation, finding greater efficiencies, reducing services and discontinuing programs and courses.

        Will my tuition fees increase?

        Capilano University’s tuition fees are the lowest of all B.C. universities and among the lowest in Canada. The government has capped tuition fee increases at two per cent annually since 2005 according to the tuition-limit policy. Any future tuition fee increases will continue to be guided by the government’s tuition limit policy. 

        Will any student services be discontinued?

        We will explore all options to produce a balanced budget; however, Capilano University is committed to supporting students in their academic success and will maintain student services as much as possible.

        What is the university's 'teach-out policy' for discontinued programs?

        The Senate's policy for teaching-out students affected by discontinued programs aims to protect the interests of both students and faculty. The University is committed to providing students who are currently registered in their programs a reasonable opportunity to complete the program if it is discontinued.

        Foundation Questions

        Are we able to use donations to cover ongoing expenditures?

        The focus of Capilano’s fundraising efforts is on supporting students directly via scholarships and bursaries. Fundraising is not a suitable means of funding operations as ongoing expenditures/commitments (e.g. salaries) require a guaranteed source of ongoing revenue.