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UM will be using reserves in 2021

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University expects to spend nearly 11 million euros more next year than it will receive. This is stated in the 2021 budget. UM is not going to get into debt, but is relying on specially designated money boxes.

UM expects to spend half a billion euro in the coming year. The vast majority, about 70 percent, are personnel costs. More than € 45 million goes to real estate: mainly usage and depreciation. New investments are the construction of laboratories in the Duboisdomein 30 (17.3 million), the biomedical center (10 million), and the renovation of the UNS 50 (8 million). The cyber crisis has resulted in additional IT expenditure in the coming year. More than 20 million, 4 percent of the total costs of UM. 5 million has been budgeted for corona-related expenses. Think of the stewards and audiovisual material for teachers, but also a temporary expansion of the teaching staff to reduce the workload.

The expected income - coming from the government, tuition fees and various research grants - is 496 million. The difference between revenues and expenditures is compensated by specially earmarked money boxes. These reserves have been built up in recent years to absorb large investments. In the coming years, for example, 2.5 million euros will go to the ‘Limburg Invests in its Knowledge Economy’ (LINK) program. In addition, nearly 1.3 million will go to the strategic plans of the School of Business and Economics. That money will be spent on, among other things, the improvement and the development of current bachelor and master programs. The majority of the designated reserves (a good 6.5 million in 2021) is for current research projects and for the further development of research and education at the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences (FHML).

The UM budget was approved last Wednesday during the latest University Council meeting. That was not without a struggle. There was a lot of discussion about FHML's multi-year plan, especially the students are very concerned about it. They are afraid that money (one million euros) intended for the quality agreements - the money that has become available because of the abolition of the basic grant to improve education and innovation - will be used to overcome declining government contributions in the future. According to Nick Bos, vice president of the executive board, this is too black and white. A receding government contribution (per student) has an effect on the quality of education, he says. Bos's solution: should the government grant be in fact disappointing in the future, the budget as a whole is up for discussion. This is possible because money reduction from The Hague will happen first in 2022. The University Council agreed with this.

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