UCG has to cut back

The University College Groningen (UCG) was on the verge of being deep in the red. But nearly one million euros in cut backs and a substantial contribution from the Board of Directors will keep the faculty going for a while yet.
By Tim Bakker / Translation by Traci White

The UCG board had a shortage of two million euros in total through 2020, but the RUG board did not accept that. Following cut backs, that deficit was brought down to 1.1 million euros, 742,000 euros of which will come in 2017.

The Board of Directors still want to give UCG a chance. The board has decided provide a one-time contribution of 742,000 euros in 2017 and to approved of a new budget. The remaining shortfall – roughly 350,000 euros – must be recouped. By 2020, UCG will have to be in the black.

Less research

The new budget means that the faculty will have to revise its plans for the years to come, says dean Hans van Ees. ‘We have to be more efficient. We will either have to save money on research or we will have to bring in more money.’ That means that UCG will have to shave off some of the time that staff members spend on doing research. ‘We (the faculty board, ed.) will also sacrifice some of our time. The student-to-staff ratio will increase as a result, but it will remain adequate.’

In order to remain financially sound, the faculty wanted to have at least 100 new students this academic year. Despite additional recruitment efforts, only 84 students started in September. The number of students from outside the EU, who pay far higher tuition fees than their European classmates, has remained especially low. Their accommodation costs also increased this year. The faculty will end 2016 with a loss of 280,000 euros.

Confidence

Despite disappointments, the UCG board is positive about the future. The Board of Directors also has confidence in the faculty’s plans. ‘The success and continued existence of UCG ultimately depends on the student numbers’, according to Van Ees. As such, the faculty board has come up with a plan to recruit more students for the coming academic year.

UCG will have to focus on students from outside the EU in particular, according to Van Ees. ‘We are slowly but surely building up our personal and online networks, and we have allocated part of the budget to recruit some in-house expertise to that end. We are also still considering ways to better reach them. We want to involve the students in that process as well.’

The faculty council is also optimistic. Chairperson Nora Achterbosch of the faculty council concludes that the growth and development of UCG is simply taking longer than anticipated. ‘That is being seen in the budgetary shortage. And even though the student influx this year has improved considerably, the financial situation is still not sustainable. Measures will have to be taken and the faculty council is more than ready to provide guidance. We have full confidence in the improvements to the financial situation and we are convinced that UCG will be even more successful in the future.’

The cut backs will not have any impact on the planned move to the Healthy Ageing Campus in 2020, according to the faculty board.

Nederlands

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