UM budget 2018: no concern, room for investment


MAASTRICHT. Next year, Maastricht University intends to spend 3.9 million more than it will receive. This is according to plan and has everything to do with investments in educational innovation, research facilities and the improvement of the employability and supervision of students. The extra expenses will be paid from the reserves.

“Financially we are looking healthy,” concludes director of Finance, Ruud Bollen. “The UM wants to keep developing, so faculties are delving into their piggy banks that are intended for the improvement of research infrastructure and quality of education, or taking on PhD students.” Next year, the Executive Board will also use its reserves, for example, to support the development of new bachelor’s programmes – such as Digital Society at FASoS and an interdisciplinary, interfaculty bachelor's programme – as well as master's programmes, the employability of students and reducing the workload. These are investments evolving from the previous Strategic Plan 2012-2016 (“after-effects,” according Bollen) and the new strategic plan Community at the Core (2017-2021).

New items in the budget are the so-called ‘study advancement resources’ (money that has become available after the abolishing of the basic grant: this will be 4.7 million for the UM in 2018, rising to approximately 17 to 18 million in 2026), which the university will receive from the government. The faculties will use these resources for (among other things) more and better student supervision, talent development, reducing the workload and professionalisation of lecturers.

The budget is approximately 430 million euro, somewhat more than half of the money (57 per cent) will come from the government, 9 per cent from tuition fees, 4 per cent is research funding from NWO and KNAW, while 16 per cent of the research funds comes from other parties (contract research). The rest (14 per cent) are proceeds from activities such as contract education. The largest part of this 430 million will be spent on personnel (66 per cent). It is expected that this will run to 2,167 (FTE) scientific staff and 1,558 (FTE) support staff. Furthermore, the UM is expecting 338 PhD ceremonies in 2018 and no less than 18 thousand (17,873 to be exact) students, about four hundred more than in 2017.

The growth in student numbers (3 per cent was the brief given to faculties) is a necessity, if Maastricht University wants to maintain its present market share. After all, many sister institutes see their influx numbers rising, so those who don't grow or hardly at all, will feel the financial consequences. Even a minor decline today – for example, a 1 per cent loss of market share - would have a negative effect on the income.