Queen’s University Balanced Budget Plan

Addressing our financial challenges together

At Queen’s University, we are committed to our academic mission of excellence in research and teaching. To ensure we can continue to deliver on these priorities, we are addressing our current financial challenges together, as one university. While some of the choices ahead will be difficult, we are focused on finding sustainable solutions, and we will emerge a stronger, more resilient institution.

As we begin the 2024-2025 fiscal year, the university is projecting a $35.7 million operating budget deficit. This is the estimated cost of operating the university for this fiscal year, with expenditure again outpacing revenues. As such, the university must continue with efforts underway to return to a balanced operating budget.

This year’s projected deficit follows progress in the 2023-24 fiscal year, where the initial projected deficit of $62.8 million was reduced over the course of the year to a projected final projected deficit of $28.2 million. Units projecting deficits in 2023-24 are funding their deficits with their reserves.

Budget background

Queen's announced a significant budget deficit in spring 2023. Like other universities in Ontario, Queen's has been experiencing growing financial pressure due to a provincial tuition cut and freeze for Ontario students that is expected to be in place for two more years and has cost the university an estimated $180 million as of spring 2024. We are also experiencing a decrease in international student enrolment and increasing costs and inflation have added to the budgetary strain.

Returning to a balanced budget

The Balanced Budget Plan aims to return the university to structural balance over the next two years. Measures that have been implemented so far include a university-wide hiring freeze, voluntary retirement and early exit incentives, base budget reductions across the board, general spending reductions in areas like travel, technology, and procurement, operational improvements such as sharing of services and expenses, joint investments, and new campus partnerships.

The Strategic Implementation and Operations Task Force, with representation from the faculties and central services (or shared services), has been created to guide budget reduction initiatives and facilitate integrated conversations across Queen's.

Balanced Budget Plan measures

Hiring freeze

A hiring freeze for full-time positions will help us achieve savings, while requiring us to smartly manage workloads and simplify or limit projects.

Voluntary retirement and exit initiatives

For faculty, librarians, and archivists: A Voluntary Retirement Plan encourages eligible members to retire early, reducing salary costs and paving the way for academic renewal.

For Faculty of Arts and Science staff: A pilot Voluntary Exit Initiative offers a lump sum payment for eligible staff and could potentially be extended to other departments if necessary.

Reduced base budget allocations

We are reducing base budget allocations across the university over the next several years. For faculties, reductions to base budgets will be phased in over the next three years, starting at four per cent for 2024-25.

Savings from these faculty reductions will go into a Deficit Mitigation Fund which will largely support the Faculty of Arts and Science as it works to return to a balanced budget by the end of the 2025-26 fiscal year. All other faculties have until the end of the 2024-25 fiscal year to achieve balanced budgets. For more on the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), visit the FAS Operating Budget Deficit Updates webpage.

Queen’s central services portfolios (or shared services) are also reducing their base budget expenditures over the next two years at a rate of 1.5 per cent for both 2024-25 and 2025-26. In addition, all shared services are directed to reach a balanced budget at the conclusion of this current fiscal year (2023-24).

Spending reductions and operational savings

We have implemented general spending reductions and prudence in areas like travel and technology purchases, procurement and purchasing. We are also finding cost savings in operations through new campus partnerships, sharing of services and expenses, and joint investments wherever possible.

We are coordinating operational improvements that include fixing disconnected or inefficient processes and eliminating duplicated activities. This will allow us to address challenges and better support our students, faculty, and staff.

Combined, these efforts should both reduce costs and allow us to use our existing resources more efficiently.

Financial overview

Discover more on the Queen’s financial publications page, including our annual financial statements, annual budget reports, financial projections, and a set of detailed financial FAQs:

Financial Services publications

Queen’s Renew Program

Distinct from the Balanced Budget Plan, the Queen’s Renew Program aims for long-term financial health so we can invest more in our academic mission into the future.

This work will focus on finding structural efficiencies and ensuring professional services staff are well supported with effective tools, systems, and processes.

Learn more about this work on the Queen's Renew Program website, including details on surveys and data collection and FAQs:

Queen’s Renew Program

Gazette Articles

Queen's University campus

May 15, 2024

Queen’s projects 2024-25 operating budget deficit

University also announces final projected operating fund results for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Grant Hall

May 01, 2024

Morningstar DBRS releases Queen’s University credit ratings

AA rating unchanged and expected to remain stable through the medium term.

A partial view of limestone building behind trees

Apr 22, 2024

S&P Global Ratings releases Queen’s University credit ratings

The university’s rating has remained unchanged at AA+, signifying a stable long-term outlook.