University of Alberta administration soaks up $100M

Cash-strapped university one of the most expensive to run in Canada

By Elise Stolte

Excerpt from: Edmonton Journal, March 26, 2010

Full article at:

As the University of Alberta climbed the world rankings, it also became one of the most expensive universities to run in Canada, with a budget for central administration of more than $100 million. Today, the board of governors will likely be asked to pass a smaller budget than last year, one that is expected to include $20 million more revenue from students in the form of new $550 mandatory fees.

According to one researcher, if the university would simply bring central administration expenses in line with the average of Canada’s top 13 research universities, it would save $23 million. “There’s the biter for them, because if they hadn’t (let central administration costs increase), they wouldn’t need the new fee,” said Bill Smith, who retired as general manager for the Students’ Union after 17 years.

Based on numbers submitted to the Canadian Association of University Business Officers, Smith argues that
more money is going into administration and less into the classrooms at universities across Canada. He said
the trend is especially strong here. The budget for central administration has doubled since 2000-01, quadrupled since 1994-95. Those numbers include items such as the provost office, financial services and external relations, but not student services. Smith argues the increase in administration costs means the percentage of the budget spent on academic salaries for instruction and non-sponsored research has fallen.

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