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Approved UTSG service ancillaries budget projects $14.3 million loss under pandemic

UAB increases fees for Student Life, Hart House, certain residences and meal plans
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The Governing Council Chambers are housed at Simcoe Hall. SAMANTHA YAO/THE VARSITY
The Governing Council Chambers are housed at Simcoe Hall. SAMANTHA YAO/THE VARSITY

On March 4, the Governing Council’s University Affairs Board (UAB) unanimously approved the 2021–2022 operating plan and budget for UTSG service ancillaries, which includes residence services at U of T’s non-federated colleges and select food and beverage services. 

The service ancillaries budget is projecting a net loss of $14.3 million for the current academic year and $8.7 million for the 2021–2022 academic year as a result of the pandemic. Due to the losses, the university is proposing to run a $50 million deficit for the next five years to cover ancillary operations.  

Residence and student life

At the meeting, UAB voted to approve a variety of fee increases for residences and ancillary services. Residence fees at Innis College, New College, University College (UC), and Woodsworth College are set to increase by as much as 5.3 per cent next academic year. Meal plan rates at UC will rise by 3.1 per cent — in line with the previous year’s increase.

Aside from residences, the board first passed the 2021–2022 operating plan and budget for Student Life programs. The student fee for Health & Counselling will increase by 3.01 per cent and the fee for other student services run through the Division of Student Life will increase by 1.92 per cent. 

Executive Director of Student Experience David Newman gave a presentation highlighting the Division of Student Life’s work over the past year. Newman indicated that more than 2,100 students signed up for the university’s quarantine program.

Newman also highlighted the university’s new student mental health web portal, which has received more than 21,000 visits from over 9,000 unique users since its launch in the fall. 

Ancillary fees increases

The UAB also voted to approve the 2021–2022 operating plan and budget for U of T Sport & Recreation Programs, Services, and Facilities. The budget includes a 0.79 per cent decrease in student fees. 

Beth Ali, Executive Director of Athletics and Co-curricular Physical Activity, also gave a presentation before the vote. She indicated that prior to U of T Sport & Rec closing its doors on March 13, 2020 due to the pandemic, the program had seen record numbers of participants, with 503,159 visits from 40,007 individual users during the 2019–2020 academic year. 

Lastly, the UAB approved the Hart House operating plan and budget. Student fees for Hart House services will increase by 1.95 per cent, which is less than the previous year’s fee hike of 7.6 per cent.

John Monahan, Warden of Hart House, reported on Hart House’s current programming, noting that over 90 per cent of it has been delivered online since the beginning of the pandemic. He also highlighted the new Virtual Hart House initiative, which was introduced during the pandemic and includes over 140 hours of virtual programming each month. 

The operating plans and budgets for Hart House, Student Life, and U of T Sport & Rec had previously been approved by the Council on Student Services, which is primarily comprised of students.