The college is preparing for one element of a new provincial funding formula, which will make the achievement of enrolment targets a greater factor in the annual grant money allocated to the school by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
In a report to the Board of Governors during its October 25th meeting, the administration provided this background and update of the ministry’s methodology:
Enrolment-based funding provides grants based on historical enrolments. It is intended to provide a level of stability and predictability that allows colleges to engage in multi-year planning. Colleges entered the corridor model for Enrolment-Based Funding for domestic students in 2019-2020. The Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) allocates the Core Operating Grant (Enrolment-Based Envelope) based on enrolment through the corridor mechanism.
A college’s Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) enrolment is converted into Weighted Funding Units (WFU), which are established from the ministry’s evaluation of each academic program’s duration, cost, and complexity of delivery.
A college receives an unchanged share of funding provided its enrolment remains within a specific range (the corridor), represented by WFU and calculated on a three-year average, two-year slip.
The ministry established each college’s respective corridor mid-point. From the mid-point, the ceiling allows for a three percent increase and seven percent decrease in terms of “achieved” enrolment targets.
St. Clair College’s enrolment corridor details are as follows:
There is no projected loss in enrolment-based (corridor) funding for 2022-2023. A funding decrease of $69,223 is anticipated in 2023-2024 when we fall below the corridor floor (due to a projected dip beyond the established percentages). We were expected to fall below in 2022-2023, but this changed when the ministry implemented its COVID-19 mitigation measure and removed 2020-2021 WFUs from the calculations.
Both to keep its provincial funding stable, and tuition revenues healthy, the college is practicing a number of recruitment and retention strategies, to attract new students and keep existing ones. According to the report to the Board:
Since April 2022, the college has returned to face-to-face recruiting and student engagement.
To increase our domestic enrolment in 2022-2023, initiatives include the following:
1. Emphasizing the college brand in all local marketing, sponsorship, events and community partnerships throughout Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex;
2. Planning tours and presentations for local guidance counsellors, faculty and board administration that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs offered by the college;
3. Working with industry and community partners to provide joint recruiting efforts by educating our local high school students, faculty, guidance counsellors and parents. These partnerships will help support the benefits of a St. Clair College education to students, parents and high school influencers;
4. Continuing to use research data on programs and student demographics to develop targeted marketing campaigns throughout Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent and the Western Ontario region;
5. Engaging with the Retention Committee to analyze and understand retention rates, and develop plans to improve student retention;
6. Continuing to have the Enrolment Management Committee focus on identifying new opportunities and programs to attract domestic students.
What the college really can’t do much about is rectifying the fundamental problem of a chronically low birth-rate in Canada – particularly in southwestern Ontario. That simply means that there isn’t a huge pool of prospective local students coming out of high schools every year. While Windsor-Essex has enjoyed a certain degree of population growth during the past half-decade, much of that has taken the form of retirees moving from the Greater Toronto Area to this more affordable area – retirees who aren’t bringing college-aged children with them to bolster St. Clair’s enrolment.
At a certain point – at least in terms of stagnant domestic enrolment – the college might have to argue to the ministry that the three percent recruitment-increase target (as cited in the corridor formula) is not actually realistic.
OTHER STORIES FROM THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
• The midyear financial numbers are looking good: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/budget-track-according-mid-year-actuals
• Apprentices voice their opinion of the college: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/fluctuating-apprenticeship-surveys-reviewed-board
• Recap of the past year’s marketing efforts: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/enrolment-and-revenue-depend-marketing-and-recruitment
• Contract/Corporate Training has rebounded: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/contract-training-rebounds-pandemic
• Running the college is risky business: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/board-reviews-its-risks