A message for faculty and staff about McMaster’s 2024-25 budget 

An aerial view of McMaster's campus at a time of year when the trees are green and only a few have started to turn red/orange

The Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and Vice-President, Operations and Finance offer more context as faculties and departments across the university have been asked to adjust budgets in a time of fiscal restraint.

Dear McMaster faculty and staff,

As part of our ongoing commitment to sharing budget and financial information with you, we want to provide additional context for the recent provincial announcement on post-secondary funding and answer your questions about the university’s financial position. We also want to share that there are opportunities for faculty and staff to ask additional questions.

As you may already know, all faculties, departments and units across the university were recently asked to adjust their budgets to contain costs. We recognize that areas across the university are feeling the impacts of these fiscal restraints, and each is exploring and implementing various measures to meet their budget targets, from finding efficiencies, sharing resources and reducing expenses, to delayed hiring and reduced travel or project funding.

It continues to be vitally important that we take proactive measures to make sure all areas have structurally balanced budgets. This will ensure that the revenue the university brings in each year can cover ongoing expenses.

While the solutions will vary from one unit to another, each contributes to the overall goal of ensuring that McMaster is able to deliver on its core academic and research priorities and does not fall into a deficit position.

Blue-Ribbon Panel

In response to the recommendations made in the Blue-Ribbon Panel report, the provincial government recently announced nearly $1.3 billion in funding, which falls short of the recommendations.

The Ontario operating grant freeze that has been in place for the past 12 years received a temporary reprieve with $700 million designated for Ontario universities and colleges over the next three years. Again, while this is a welcome shift in policy and funding, it does not meet the full level of need recommended by the Blue-Ribbon Panel.

The province’s tuition freeze, which has been in place since 2019, will be extended for at least three years and will continue to impact the university’s budget.

The government’s announcement did include good news on unfunded students. The Ministry of Colleges and Universities indicated it is providing $100 million this fiscal year for unfunded students in STEM programs across Ontario. While this is important government recognition of this issue, the amount does not reflect the true cost of current unfunded students.

Among other challenges, we are still waiting to learn the details about the impact of the federal government’s cap on international student permits. Teams are working on this across the university so we are as prepared as possible when the government decisions are made.

Where we go from here

Last June, McMaster announced a modest surplus in the consolidated budget for the 2023-24 financial year, which ends on April 30, 2024. This has allowed us to largely operate normally while investing in key areas. However, the forecast for the 2024-25 fiscal year, which begins on May 1, is less positive.

With the tuition freeze remaining in place, uncertainty around international enrolment and increasing operating costs, a strategy of fiscal restraint is critical so that we can continue to support advances in research and education, engagement with our communities, our reputation, the well-being of our students, faculty and staff, and so much more.

Times of restraint can also lead to innovation. Departments and units are encouraged to be strategic, including by exploring new revenue opportunities, applying for grants that can fund existing expenses, and optimizing procurement. We know that many of you are already brainstorming other ideas and we believe that we will be successful together.

Frequently Asked Questions

We recognize that there are still many questions being asked and concerns being raised across the university. We hope that the Q&A you can find here is helpful in further explaining our budget process and position.

The Q&A page also includes a link to share your thoughts, comments and the questions you would like explored with Budget Committee members. We will continue to update this page as new questions are asked, and new information is received.

In-person budget information sessions are also being planned this spring. Please watch for additional information on these opportunities to learn more.

Thank you for being part of our collective efforts to remain financially healthy so we can continue to advance the university’s teaching, learning and research mission.


Susan Tighe
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)

Saher Fazilat
Vice-President, Operations and Finance

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