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In October 2017, budget templates were issued to budget leaders to provide a uniform basis for summarizing departmental priorities. The budget template included sections for both departmental requests and requests for institutional costs the unit has the responsibility to oversee.

The budget templates provided the units with an opportunity to detail their 2018/19 operational plans where there would be a difference between their starting base budget and final proposed budget. Units were to include intended 2018/19 activities and resourcing requirements resulting from those activities. Plans were listed in priority sequence. A new requirement this year was to identify the proposed funding source to meet the resource needs identified in the operational plan.

In November 2017, each Vice-President had an opportunity to present their operational plans to the Budget Committee for consideration. Also in November, institutional costs were reviewed and adjusted as necessary.

In December, Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM) provided a high-level revenue projection, which formed the preliminary forecast and the budget envelope enabling the Budget Committee information to make informed decisions regarding departmental requests.

In January, departmental requests were finalized and the full allocation by Faculty was completed. Meetings were held between the acting Vice-President: Academic and the Faculty Deans to discuss the transitional plan implications.

Throughout February, an analytical and comprehensive review of the 2018/19 Preliminary Budget was performed.

Role of the Budget Committee

The budget committee:

  • Provides oversight for the implementation of the budget, incorporating the transition to RCM.
  • Establishes the annual budget development process.
  • Provides advice and recommendations for transparent resource allocation decisions reflective of the university's strategic priorities.
  • Incorporates key assumption inputs into the budget model, including but not limited to enrolment targets and tuition rates.

The budget committee is advisory to its co-chairs, the provost and vice-president: finance and administration, who in turn recommend a budget to the president. Membership includes all vice-presidents, the senior executive officer for Brantford and three deans. The committee is supported by relevant resource staff and works in concert with the existing governance system

Budget Timeline


  • Guidelines and templates distributed to units for completion.
  • Shared Service templates due to respective VP/SEO/president.


  • Faculty templates to VPA.
  • Shared Service templates due with VP signature.
  • Institutional costs reviewed.
  • VP operational plans presentation at budget committee.


  • High level revenue based on SEM.
  • Preliminary forecast.


  • Tuition and grant revenue projection by faculty.
  • Full allocation by faculty completed.
  • Shared Service allocation finalized.
  • Strategic requests and investments finalized by budget committee.


  • Analytical review and budget report preparation.

March and April

  • Governance process, Board meeting April 19.

2.1 Revenue Process

The key drivers impacting the Budget for tuition revenue include the government’s policy on the tuition rate framework and the University’s enrolment plan and projections. Operating grants are impacted by government policy and announcements through the Provincial Budget.

Student enrolment drives more than 90% of operating revenue. The Strategic Enrolment Management Committee oversees the development of short-term and long-term enrolment targets for both graduate and undergraduate students. This forms the basis of the enrolment forecast, which is then used to project enrolment-related revenue (tuition and grant) institutionally and by Faculty.

Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM)

SEM is tasked with developing long-term enrolment plans that reflect a comprehensive and integrated approach to strategic enrolment management. SEM is co-chaired by the VP: Academic and the VP: Student Affairs. The Committee includes all Deans, Principal/Dean of the Seminary, AVP Enrolment Services & Registrar, and AVP Financial Resources as well as resource members.

In Fall 2017, SEM reviewed a two-year enrolment plan and Faculty-level targets relative to the corridor for both domestic/international students and undergraduate/graduate students. The finalized targets drove the total tuition and grant revenue forecast. The SEM process involves:

  • the corridor midpoint established through SMA, then
  • target setting through SEM for new and returning students, then
  • SEM targets translated to tuition and grant dollars for budget, and finally
  • tuition and grant allocated to faculties through the RCM budget model.

While SEM’s scope includes both new and returning students, the main point of influence each year in terms of total enrolment is the setting of intake targets for new students, a relatively small proportion of total enrolment. Returning students are forecasted based on historical retention rates. The corridor applies to eligible (i.e. domestic) students only.

Looking forward to the 2019/20 Budget, SEM will begin their work earlier in the year and the budget development process. This will be beneficial as we will know earlier in the process the projected revenue envelope which can then inform decisions related to budget development process.


Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Enrolments

In 2018/19, undergraduate (UG) domestic enrolment is projected to increase 2.8% from the prior year and total graduate enrolment is projected to increase by 6.6%. The following chart shows the FTE enrolment from 2008/09 to 2018/19 including undergraduate domestic, undergraduate international and graduate.

The FTE enrolment trend from 2008/09 to 2018/19 including undergraduate domestic, undergraduate international and graduate is shown in Chart 1.

FTE Enrolment Trends from 2008/09 to 2018/19
Graduate Totals
2008/09 12,868 236 890


2009/10 13,815 244 948 15,007
2010/11 14,557 260 977 15,794
2011/12 15,075 351 986 16,412
2012/13 15,660 498 994 17,152
2013/14 15,769 640 1,016 17,425
2014/15 15,357 759 998 17,114
2015/16 15,423 910 1,028 17,356
2016/17 15,611 997 1,028 17,636
2017/18 15,970 1,132 1,260 18,329
2018/19 16,420 1,245 1,343 19,008

The table below shows how undergraduate domestic, undergraduate international and graduate percentage relative to the total has grown over the same period. Over time, enrolment has diversified across these categories.

FTE Enrolment Trends from 2008/09 to 2018/19: Proportional Distribution by Type of Student
2008/09 92% 2% 6%
2009/10 92% 2% 6%
2010/11 92% 2% 6%
2011/12 92% 2% 6%
2012/13 91% 3% 6%
2013/14 90% 4% 6%
2014/15 90% 4% 6%
2015/16 89% 5% 6%
2016/17 89% 6% 6%
2017/18 87% 6% 7%
2018/19 86% 7% 7%

The following table illustrates the forecasted change in total students including undergraduate headcount and graduate FTEs from 2017/18 to 2018/19:

Forecasted Change in Total Students
Students 2017/18 Actual 2018/19 Change
Undergraduate Headcount
15,233 15,578 +2.3%
Graduate FTEs – Masters 786 880 +12.0%
Graduate FTEs – PhD 221 233 +5.5%

The growth in undergraduate students reflects a projected intake of new domestic students similar to Fall 2016 and also strong flow through of continuing students (intake of domestic students has increased each year from 2015/16 to 2017/18).

The graduate-level enrolments reflect both domestic and international students. The increase aligns with the increase in Laurier’s funded graduate spaces through SMA2.

Undergraduate Students

Full-time undergraduate headcount of 15,578 for Fall 2018 are projected to be marginally higher than the previous year’s actual count of 15,233. Projected enrolments include 14,497 domestic and 1,081 international students, representing an increase of 232 domestic students and 113 international students from Fall 2017. Enrolments include students in the consecutive Bachelor of Education program, a second entry undergraduate program.

Fall Full-Time Headcount – Undergraduate
Actual 2016 Actual 2017 Projected 2018
Domestic 14,015 14,265 14,497
International 835 968 1,081
Total 14,850 15,233 15,578
% Change N/A 2.6% 2.3%

Though the overall undergraduate enrolment is projected to increase by 2.3%, the first year intake is similar to 2016/17 as shown in the following chart. The below chart shows first year undergraduate intake for both domestic and international students.

First-Year Undergraduate Intake
Student Type
and Total
2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19
Domestic 3,615 3,791 4,052 4,471 4,160
International 194 200 254 306 309
Total 3,809 3,991 4,306 4,777 4,469

The following information shows the composition for projected full-time undergraduate headcount for both first year intake and total enrolment. This information is displayed by campus, type of student and Faculty. Total enrolment: 15,578 students.

Total Undergraduate Enrolment by Campus

  • Total enrolment: 13,130 in Waterloo; 2,448 in Brantford.
  • First-year intake: 3,830 in Waterloo; 639 in Brantford.
  • Brantford is projected to be 14.3% of total first-year enrolment and 15.7% of total enrolment.

Total Undergraduate Enrolment by Type of Student

  • Total enrolment: 14,497 domestic students; 1,081 international students.
  • First-year intake: 4,160 domestic students; 309 international students.
  • The projected percentage of international students remains flat at 7% for both first-year intake and total enrolment.

Total Undergraduate Enrolment by Faculty

  • Total enrolment: 4,103 (Business and Economics); 4,015 (Science), 4,128 (Arts); 130 (Education); 291 (Social Work); 883 (Liberal Arts); 1,153 (HSS); 458 (double degree); 417 (Music).
  • First-year intake: 1,210 (Business and Economics); 1,195 (Science); 1,220 (Arts); 62 (Social Work); 231 (Liberal Arts); 276 (HSS); 150 (double degree); 125 (Music).

Graduate Students

Enrolment increases in graduate programs are forecasted for Master’s students in professional and research-based academic programs for Fall 2018 of approximately 13.6% and 10.0%, respectively, from the previous year. Projected enrolments for doctoral programs are expected to increase 5.1% from the previous year. The tables below show the change in graduate FTE by program category, type of student and by Faculty.

Graduate FTE by Program Category
Program Category 2016 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Projected
Professional Masters 387.7 413.7 470.1
Research Masters 347.5 372.3 409.6
Doctoral 214.8 221.4 232.6
Total 950.0 1,007.4 1,112.3
% Change N/A 6.0% 10.4%
Graduate FTE by Type of Student
By Type of Student 2016 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Projected
Domestic 847.4 911.1 991.7
International 102.6 96.3 120.6
Total 950.0 1,007.4 1,112.3
Graduate FTE by Faculty
By Faculty 2016 Actual 2017 Actual 2018 Projected
Faculty of Arts 181.2 197.3 202.7
Faculty of Science 184.5 215.5 221.2
Lazaridis School 223.2 212.9 240.2
Faculty of Music 29.6 30.6 45.0
Faculty of Social Work 236.0 256.9 279.2
Faculty of Liberal Arts 19.2 18.2 25.8
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences 22.0 20.0 24.0
Faculty of Education 12.0 17.7 21.9
SIPG 42.3 38.3 46.3
Inter-Faculty Programs 0 0 6.0
Total 950.0 1,007.4 1,112.3

2.2 Expense Process

Laurier currently has an envelope of $300 million to fund expenses which represents the preliminary revenue forecast for 2018/19. Expenses are categorized as Direct Cost of Teaching, Departmental Requests, Institutional Costs – Unit Oversight, and Institutional Costs – Central Oversight.

Direct Cost of Teaching

Direct teaching costs result from the creation of new programs and the related new program budgets are reviewed and approved by Senate Finance and Senate. These incremental costs are more than offset by the related incremental revenue from the new programs.

For new academic programs, cost information was obtained from the new program proposal process which included a detailed multi-year budget. A set of principles was applied to determine the amount of budget provided. One-time-only (OTO) funding is provided until the enrolments are consistently maintained.

For continuing programs, additional direct teaching costs are considered when consistent enrolment is maintained and the request for additional resources is in alignment with the Faculty transition plan.

Direct teaching costs may include the hiring of faculty members or Contract Academic Staff (CAS), the development and delivery of online courses, teaching assistance, lab supervision, support staff, partnerships, lab equipment, space and operating costs.

Departmental Requests

To identify which additional budget requests would be funded by the 2018/19 budget, these requests were evaluated against guidelines established in the budget process. As a result, some requests were determined to be funded by the unit and others were funded as OTO rather than base. The operating plan guidelines adhere to the following principles:

  • Departmental operating plan requests should be funded first by the unit.
  • Available resources should be allocated to the unit's highest priority.
  • Requests should align with overall key institutional priorities.
  • Ensure transparency and visibility of unit operational plans to the budget committee.

The operating plan follows the process below.

Unit Level: Prioritized 2018/19 operational plans – can the change be managed by the unit?

  • If yes, source of internal funding is indicated on the unit template. Proceed to the portfolio level for information.
  • If no, funding is requested at the VP level on the unit's template. Proceed to the portfolio level.

Portfolio Level: Questions to consider when reviewing templates, then proceed to budget committee:

  • Could the unit fund their own priorities? (Confirm through template information.)
  • Are all of the operational plans a priority? (Even those that are being funded by the unit as this is potential funding for something else.)
  • Do you agree with the priority of order that the unit level has assigned? (As available resources should be allocated to the highest priority.)
  • Prioritize requests across VP portfolio into one priority list linking it to overall key institutional priorities. (This list will go to the budget committee for review.)

Budget Committee

  • Review VP lists and proposed funding.
  • Do the requests align with overall key institutional priorities?

Institutional Costs – Unit Oversight

Institutional costs are costs that are directly attributed to any one unit, and the unit has the responsibility to oversee the cost. However, the unit has limited control over how the cost may increase or decrease (eg. audit fees, WSIB, bank charges).

These costs were reviewed by the unit as part of their template exercise and the proposed change in cost was brought forward to the Budget Committee for review and further discussion.

Institutional Costs – Central Oversight

Institutional costs are costs that cannot be directly attributed to a unit. These costs are reviewed for any changes that may cause the cost to increase or decrease (eg. University Memberships, such as COU).

These costs (both revenue and expense) were reviewed based on actual experience and/or future known assumptions and adjusted accordingly. The expected change was brought forward to the Budget Committee for information.