Vancouver Island University is one of the post-secondary institutions in B.C. expecting operating deficits this year and next year. (Nanaimo Bulletin)

Vancouver Island University is one of the post-secondary institutions in B.C. expecting operating deficits this year and next year. (Nanaimo Bulletin)

B.C. colleges, universities allowed to run COVID-19 deficits

Falling revenue, rising costs mean red ink for 20 institutions

Twenty B.C. colleges and universities are looking at budget deficits for the current year, and 17 of them project a loss for next year as COVID-19 has hit their revenues, particularly from foreign students who pay a premium to go to school here.

The B.C. government announced an exemption to the balanced-budget rule for post-secondary institutions Friday, permitting 20 colleges and universities to run deficits totalling $178.9 million in 2020-21. For 2021-22, 17 institutions are approved for another $75.2 million in deficit financing.

“We’re providing stability so post-secondary institutions that have seen extra costs and lower revenue can navigate the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to support students, staff and faculty, and deliver top-quality post-secondary education to people,” Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang said Feb. 12.

In addition to falling enrolment and tuition revenue, colleges and universities lose revenue from parking, bookstores, student housing, food services and academic conferences as a reduced number of students do their studies mostly online.

Deficits are projected this year at B.C. Institute of Technology, Selkirk College, Camosun College, Vancouver Community College, Coast Mountain College, Capilano University, College of New Caledonia, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, College of the Rockies, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Justice Institute of B.C., University of B.C., Langara College, University of Northern B.C., North Island College, University of the Fraser Valley, Northern Lights College, University of Victoria, Okanagan College and Vancouver Island University.

RELATED: Masks required as B.C. universities resume in pandemic

RELATED: UFV’s fall semester goes online, in-person study delayed


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