Concordia has lowered its deficit by 58 per cent in the last two years.
Concordia University intends to reduce its deficit for a second straight year. In its 2017-18 operating budget, released on June 12, the institution anticipates a $3.9 million deficit, down from a $6.3 million projection in 2016-17, and $8.2 million in 2015-16.
At a Board of Governors meeting on March 8, the university’s finance committee highlighted the need for the school to reduce its deficit in the next budget in order to obtain a larger borrowing capacity from the provincial government. The deficit has been reduced by 58 per cent in the last two years.
The university projects a total revenue of $473.7 million and its total expenses to be $477.8 million during the upcoming fiscal year, from May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018. According to a letter signed by president Alan Shepard and published on the university’s website, Concordia “anticipates that [it] will be in a position to present a balanced budget within the next two years.”
The school last projected a balanced budget in 2011-12. The university was successful in doing so in 2012, but then faced major budget cuts starting the following year when the government made cuts to operating grants.
To limit the impact of these cuts, the institution launched—amongst other measures—a Voluntary Departure Program in 2014 and a Voluntary Retirement Program in 2016. The first gave administrative staff the option to leave Concordia before the expiration of their contract in exchange for a severance package. The expectation was at the time was to save as much as $5 million. Ninety staffers ended up leaving.
The 2016 Voluntary Retirement Program was open to both staff and faculty and was intended for people nearing retirement.
Concordia will also benefit from a three-per-cent increase in higher education funding from the Quebec government, as it will receive $3.2 million in new funding from the province in the upcoming year. Since 2010-2011, the university’s revenues have decreased by $90 million. However, Concordia’s student population has increased by 6.5 per cent during those years.
Archive graphic by Florence Y.