City's U de M money well spent
Monday, June 04, 2012
Times & Transcript
By: Linda Schofield
Topics: Budget/Finance, Miscellaneous
To The Editor : Regarding your editorial (University grants raise big questions, May 29), as executive director of university relations and the person responsible for fundraising campaigns at the Université de Moncton, please allow me to clarify two very important points you have raised.
In reference to the amount granted by the City of Moncton to the two universities within its jurisdiction, you state that 'in neither case does the City of Moncton get a direct benefit or obligation from the receiving university.' Furthermore, you ask 'why did council start this?' First, let me specify that of the $2 million over 10 years granted to our university through the Excellence campaign in 2004, the majority ($1.5 million) was earmarked for bursaries to residents of Moncton attending our university. In addition, half of this amount is specifically designated for French immersion graduates at Bernice McNaughton, Harrison Trimble and Moncton High. The other $500,000 has been applied to projects at the U de M Museum and to Acadian studies, a decision that was pre-approved by the City.
In reply to your second question: 'why did council start this?' allow me to recall various points contained in the Université de Moncton's presentation to council in October 2003 that prompted its members to vote unanimously to award these funds to our capital campaign. The Université de Moncton had more than 700 employees, half of whom resided within city limits; 4,000 students annually lived in the City, contributing to its economy; employment income spent in the region was $40 million; purchase of local goods and services amounted to $8.24 million; the annual subsidy the City received from the Province of New Brunswick in lieu of property taxes was $1,7 million and finally, the total economic impact of l'Université de Moncton in this community, directly and indirectly, amounted to nearly $140 million annually.
While we have not adjusted these numbers to reflect today's reality, one can only surmise that our institution's strong growth since 2004 has resulted in a stronger impact on Moncton. In fact, in 2010, the City received $2,960,777 from the province in lieu of property taxes for the Moncton Campus.
Furthermore, many of our students from Canada and abroad remain in the area after graduation, thereby contributing to the City of Moncton's thriving knowledge-based economy and cultural vibrancy.
During the Excellence campaign, municipalities throughout the province followed the City of Moncton's lead by creating bursaries for residents attending one of our campuses. Such a gesture was deemed a worthwhile investment, even for those that do not directly benefit from a university campus presence. This practice also exists in other areas throughout Canada.
I trust this information will help clarify some of the issues raised in your editorial and will put this issue to rest once and for all.
Linda Schofield, Université de Moncton