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The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG) is facing a decline in income. The faculty will therefore be reducing its spending, focusing on the quality of teaching and research as the key principle. Below you can read the answers to frequently asked questions on the FMG budget.

1. What’s going on?

Over the next three years, the Faculty of Social and Behaviourial Sciences (FMG) will face lower revenues as a result of a substantial drop in student numbers between 2013 and 2016. The faculty will additionally be facing rising staff costs and investments in new bilingual Bachelor’s programmes. For this reason, we must now make carefully thought-out choices to align our spending with our income and develop a balanced and realistic budget.

2. How great is the deficit?

The initial deficit for 2018 was €5.7 million. However, we have been given the go-ahead by the Executive Board to use €4.55 million from the reserves. This means we now still have to reduce our spending with 1.2 million euros (1.5% of the government-funding budget) to balance the budget. We will be faced with similar challenges in 2019 and 2020 as well.

3. Did we see this coming?

When student numbers dropped in recent years, the faculty responded by taking a couple of measures. We invested in bilingual Bachelor's programmes, which has now resulted in the current upswing in enrolment. We also invested in specific research priority areas, in order to retain our distinct international edge and enhance our acquisition capability. In 2017, additional efforts were made to adjust our spending, however, due to ongoing contracts and education requirements it wasn’t possible to implement some of these changes in the middle of the financial year. Now, at the start of a new year, we can make those changes to ensure we will become financially healthy again for the long term.  

4. Can the Board grant us additional funds?

Yes, and they have: FMG has received permission from the Executive Board to make additional use of the faculty’s reserves, up to an amount of 4.55 million euros in 2018, thus allowing us to spend more than we will receive as income.

The FMG budget received approval from the Executive Board in December 2017. The budget received by our faculty is set based on the UVA allocation model. How we then draft and monitor the budget is our own responsibility.

5. What’s happening now?

The Faculty exists of four domains: Social Sciences, Communication Science, Psychology and Child Development and Education. Each domain has been tasked with ensuring that its costs are aligned to its domain budget. To that end, the boards of the domains are now drafting concrete plans aimed at achieving their targets as of the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. In doing so, the workload issues and the need to maintain the high quality of our education and research will take top priority: these are important key points for all parties.

Once finalised, the proposals will be discussed with staff, programme directors and college/graduate school directors in various fora. They will also be discussed in the Board of Studies, where a student member will be present (the ‘BOS’ or ‘ombudsstudent’), and in the Programme Committee (PC), members of which include multiple students and the Faculty Student Council. The domains will also keep their students informed through the website, email, newsletters or events.

6. Will the Faculty Works Council and Faculty Student Council be involved in this process?

Yes, once a complete overview of plans and measures is available, it will be discussed with the representative advisory bodies (Faculty Works Council, Faculty Student Council). The Faculty Student Council (FSR) represents the interests of students in meetings with the Board. Like to know more? Click here or visit their Facebook page.

7. Social Sciences has already announced several measures to be taken in the short term. Why were students not involved in those decisions?

The domain Social Sciences has discussed the proposals with its employees in great depth, as staff will be the group most affected by these measures (rather than students). Based on these talks, a number of short-term measures were drafted; you can read more about them here. The proposals for long-term actions are still being discussed. Once a complete overview of these becomes available, they too will be discussed with the representative advisory bodies. 

8. Will these proposals affect the quality of education?

Our main priority is to ensure we will safeguard the high quality of our education programmes and research. With having received the green light to use our reserves, we are confident we will achieve this aim for this year and the future.

Like to know more?

If you have any questions you can contact the Faculty Student Council (FSR), your Programme Committee, study association, programme director or the college directors of your degree programme.