OTTAWA -- Carleton University is concerned the COVID-19 pandemic will impact student enrolment in the fall.

The Board of Governors approved its $502 million budget for the 2020-21 school year. Total revenues and expenses are up $13 million from the 2019-20 budget, which the university credits mainly to international tuition fee increases.

In a report for the Board of Governors, Provost and Vice-President Jerry Tomberlin warns the COVID-19 pandemic will hit the university next year.

“Although we expect that the COVID-19 disruption will have a significant effect on the university’s 2020-21 finacial results, we are presenting the operating budget without reference to the pandemic,” Tomberlin writes.

“The operating budget presented for approval will serve as the baseline from which COVID-19 financial consequences can be assessed. In the coming months, management will provide the board with an updated budget and multi-year plan in September 2020.”

As part of the approved budget, Carleton University put a number of new discretionary allocations on hold until the potential impacts of the current public health crisis are better understood.

The Board of Governors was told that Carleton is assessing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on its plans and budgets, and a budget update is planned for the fall.

A report does warn “our most significant risk is fall enrolments not fully materializing.”

The university says a one per cent deviation in enrolment will lead to an approximately $3 million variance from tuition fee revenues.

Tuition fees will remain frozen for all domestic students for a second straight year after the Ontario Government mandated a 10 per cent cut in 2019-20 and a freeze for 2020-21.