"BA-ICT" Financial Forecast Altered By Provincial Policies

business program

The college is proceeding, “full-speed-ahead”, with its offering of an innovative new Bachelor’s degree program – although a number of provincial policy changes since its initial conception have somewhat altered its “profitability projection”.

During the February 25th meeting of the college’s Board of Governors (BofG) meeting, a report by Academic Vice-President Waseem Habash provided an update on the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration–Information Communication Technology degree program.

The four-years-long “BA-ICT” program is a unique offering that will combine fundamental business education in accounting, marketing, finance, management and human resources with information technology (computer networking and troubleshooting) skills. The program’s graduates will be “hybrid” employees who can knowledgeably tackle the specific electronic needs of multi-departmental commercial and manufacturing enterprises.

The new program is now accepting applications for its first year of enrolment in the 2020-21 academic year (beginning this September).

The BofG initially approved the college administration’s design of the program in 2015. The provincial Ministry of Colleges and Universities – then under the Liberal government – okayed its curriculum (after a lengthy review) in 2018.

Between that go-ahead and the actual launch of the program, however, a Conservative government assumed power in the province ...

... And, with it, came an across-the-board roll-back of tuition rates in the province, in addition to some grant-funding changes.

That means, according to Habash’s report, that the original financial numbers reviewed by the BofG when it approved the program have been altered.

Initially, the administration had set an annual tuition rate for the BA-ICT at $8,012. In December of last year, the ministry announced, “In 2019-20, tuition fees are to be decreased by ten percent; and, in 2020-21, a tuition freeze will be implemented. The maximum tuition fee that will be approved for a baccalaureate (Bachelor’s) degree program in 2020-21 ia $6,369.30.”

There have also been some reductions in prior-budgeted, per-student provincial grant funding for several years of the program.

Overall, Habash’s report made note of these fluctuations between the program’s original financial projections and the current state of affairs:

• Reduced Tuition = Reduced Revenue.

• Increase in Domestic Enrolment = Increased Revenue.

• Included new International Enrolment = Increased Revenue.

• Loss of Grant Funding Starting in Year 3 = Reduced Revenue.

• Reduction of Grant in Years 1 and 2 = Reduced Revenue.

• Increased Part-time Teaching Costs due to Bill 148 and Increased Enrolment.

• Overhead Contribution Rate Change from 35% to 40%.

• Budget template changed from a 5-year net present value (NPV) to an 8-year Net Present Value.

Originally, over a five-year forecast (with the higher tuitions and grants, and a per-year intake of 20 students), the administration had estimated that the new program would generate a “profit” for the college of approximately $310,000.

The revised financial picture – lower tuition and grants, with an initial first-year intake of 20 students, jumping to 30 in subsequent years – estimates a “profit” over eight years of just over $698,000.