Queen’s projects 2023-24 deficit
May 18, 2023
In response to cumulative financial pressures, Queen’s will run a $62.8 million operating budget deficit in its 2023-24 fiscal year, with existing reserves (carry-forward funds) used to cover the deficit.
The impact of the provincial government’s 10 per cent tuition cut for Ontario students in 2019, and subsequent tuition freeze, has cost the university $179.4 million to date. Ongoing inflationary costs and a decline in international student enrolment in the aftermath of the pandemic have added to the budgetary strain.
Several mitigation efforts are underway. Recently-struck committees, led by the Deputy Provost, and including representatives from faculties and shared service units, are examining international student enrollment growth along with cost containment and revenue generation strategies. They will seek to address the fiscal challenges so Queen’s can continue to deliver on the university’s strategic goals and academic mission.
“The university has been fortunate to build up reserves to help weather difficult financial situations, but ongoing reliance on these reserves is not sustainable,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “Acting now to mitigate our in-year deficit will provide runway to collaborate with the community on the difficult task of achieving a balanced budget by 2025/26.”
As an additional interim measure, Queen’s is imposing an immediate hiring freeze for full-time operating budget positions not currently posted or advertised. The measure will be accompanied with a process through which critical hires can be advanced on an exceptional, case-by-case basis. Further details will be shared as they become available. This process will be led by the Provost and the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration), in consultation with the Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
The temporary measure will have an immediate impact by reducing the university’s in-year deficit and providing a starting point to explore other cost containment options.
“It is important to note that our domestic applications and acceptances remain among the strongest in Ontario,” says Teri Shearer, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Acceptances this year are up 17 per cent compared to this time last year and demand for Queen’s remains strong among prospective students, with 55,000 applications for 5,000 available first year spots.”
“We are confident that by working with our campus committees, faculties, and shared services to identify and implement the appropriate cost-containment measures, we can continue to deliver on our academic and research mission, and create an exceptional education experience,” says Provost Shearer.