Queen’s projects $43.9 million shortfall in student fee revenue

A breakdown of the University’s operating deficit

Image by: Herbert Wang
Queen's is seeing lower enrolment figures for  international and graduate business students.

Queen’s overall revenue is anticipated to be $37.6 million lower than was outlined in the 2022-23 operating budget.

Provost Teri Shearer presented Queen’s Financial Projection Report as of Dec. 31 at the Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month. The report demonstrated the University’s projected overall operating deficit of $28.2 million.

Lower enrolment from international undergraduate and graduate students caused a projected $43.9 million shortfall in student fee revenues.

“Almost 97 per cent of revenue in the operating budget is mainly derived from student enrolment in the form of operating grants from the government […] and student tuition,” the University’s 2021-22 Budget Report said.

Delayed study permits for international students and “global mobility disruptions” caused a decline in enrolment at universities, Queen’s said in a statement to The Journal.

The University has put together a working group to “diversify” the pool of international applicants, according to the Financial Projection Report.

With strategies such as international awards, Queen’s aims to reach applicants from under-represented areas, offer spaces to international students earlier, and recruit more heavily from certain countries.

Revenue from professional graduate programs is expected to fall $14.5 million short of the budget.

A large portion of the shortfall in revenues is due to the graduate programs at the Smith School of Business facing declining enrolment—which are expected to bring in $11.2 million less revenue than budgeted.

The University pointed to a “robust” job market, among other factors, for lower admissions to graduate business programs.

“Professional graduate program enrolment is down across the sector due to a combination of factors, including higher interest rates affecting the cost of borrowing to return to school,” they added.

Despite decreases in other areas, there were increases in domestic enrolment resulting in a $1.8 million surplus, mainly in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Donation and research overhead revenue is $800,000 less than expected. There have been minimal increases in fees—such as for Athletics and Recreation, late payments, student health, and student assistance—which have created $400,000 in revenue.

The University said they have “limited flexibility” to increase revenue streams. They will draw on reserves to cover for their $28.2 million operating deficit, which accounts for expenses and revenue.

“Much of this revenue stream [from student fees] is directed and regulated by government,” the report said.

Principal Patrick Deane reported he was lobbying the provincial government to end tuition freezes last November.

“Universities need adequate funding to continue to fulfill their mission and meet the needs of students,” the University said in a statement to The Journal at the time.


Board of Trustees, deficit, graduate students, Operating, Queen's, revenue

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