Thompson Rivers University is facing declining domestic enrolment, prompting concerns from university brass as the school lays out its 2022-2023 budget.
The university is expecting $4.2 million less in domestic tuition revenues in the coming year than in the previous year, a drop of 5.7 per cent.
In a budget presentation on April 1, the university indicated that since the 2017-2018 school year, faculty compensation has increased from $60 million to $82 million, while on-campus domestic enrolment has declined from approximately 50,000 course enrolments to about 43,000 enrolments.
In a report to the board, TRU president Brett Fairbairn said there is "continued cause for scrutiny of domestic enrolment trends."
Fairbairn said domestic applications from B.C. students are flat, relative to the same time last year, and enrolments from the second-largest source of domestic students, Alberta, have dropped by 14 per cent.
"Almost all of this drop is in post-secondary transfer students, whereas immediate high school applicants from Alberta are currently up six per cent," Fairbairn said.
Domestic tuition makes up $39.5 million of the university's $255.4-million budget for 2022-2023. The largest chunks of revenue in the university's budget are the provincial operation grant ($91 million) and international student tuition ($67.8 million).
Fees, sales revenue and other grants make up the remainder of money coming in.
Overall revenues for 2022-2023 are actually expected to increase by 7.1 per cent and TRU has budgeted for a surplus of $898,000. One reason for that is the increase in international tuition revenues, expected to grow by 14.1 per cent.
Fairbairn noted that, to date, applications are split to 47 per cent international to 53 per cent domestic, whereas in the fall of 2021, the split was 39 per cent international to 61 per cent domestic. Overall, application numbers for the fall have gone up.
Fairbairn also noted that in competitive programs, including nursing, law and trades, most seats are given to domestic students.