News Release Archive

A discussion paper on a proposed new funding formula for
universities was released today by the Nova Scotia Council on
Higher Education. The paper outlines principles already
determined in consultation with universities, and focuses
discussion on details of how these principles can best be met
through a new formula.

In releasing the paper, council chair Stephen Wetmore explained
the goal is to develop a fair funding formula that responds to
changes in student enrolments, programs and universities, while
providing incentives to encourage excellence and innovation in
both university programming and research.

"The current funding formula is outdated, based on decisions made
almost 10 years ago," Mr. Wetmore said. "Since then, enrolments
have changed, universities have changed, times have changed. The
only thing that hasn't changed is the funding formula, and it's
time to catch up."

The proposed formula is built upon five key principles: equity;
policy sensitivity; stability and predictability; public
accountability; and transparency. The principles of public
accountability and transparency mean universities, students and
taxpayers can more easily and logically understand how university
funding is allocated, and see for themselves that public tax
dollars are being well-spent.

Equity is linked to the number of students enrolled in a
university and the cost of the programs they take. This would be
reflected in the formula through a "weighted enrolment grant"
(WEG). The paper proposes that a minimum-maximum enrolment range
or "corridor" be set for each university at both the
under-graduate and graduate levels. Universities could enrol
additional students, but would only receive government funding
for the number of students within this range.

To calculate the WEG, the number of students would be multiplied
by the cost of the programs they take. To determine program
costs, programs are categorized into "bins" based on a number of
factors including: special facilities from laboratories to music
studios; equipment costs; the need for technical and specialized
support staff; and average faculty salaries.

Equity changes are proposed for international student fees.
Currently, universities equally share additional fees paid by all
international students. It is proposed that each university keep
the fees paid by its international students to reward the
increased effort being undertaken by universities in
international marketing.

Extra money would be available to promote equity for small
universities; universities outside metro with less opportunity to
share resources and services; universities responsible for
resources used by other institutions or the community, e.g.,
special libraries; and Universite Ste.-Anne.

Universities would receive grants to encourage a high-quality
research capability in the province, attracting new economic
opportunities to Nova Scotia. Government would also provide
targeted funding as incentives to support university-initiated
innovation and change, and public policy priorities. This
supports the principle of policy sensitivity, which enables
government to direct resources to its highest priorities.
Restricted grants would continue to be available for alterations,
renovations, and library and other equipment.

The discussion paper includes examples of how different
universities would be affected if the proposed formula was
adopted, based on current funding levels. Mr. Wetmore said those
numbers may change, based on consultation. "Nothing will happen
overnight. We're still at the discussion stage, and council wants
to hear from universities, from students and all partners before
recommendations are made to government."

Even when recommendations are made down the road, there will be a
well-planned transition process, consistent with the principle of
stability and predictability - meaning universities must be
reasonably assured of resources to carry out their programs. The
transition process will be in place so universities have the time
they need to plan and adjust.


NOTE TO EDITORS: Copies of the discussion paper are available on
the Department of Education and Culture home page at or by calling the Nova Scotia Government
Bookstore toll-free, 1-800-526-6575.

Contact: Catherine MacIsaac  902-424-2795

trp                  Mar. 12, 1997 - 12:05 p.m.