McMaster approves 2022-23 consolidated budget

A view of McMaster's University Hall in sunlight

Described as a forward-looking financial plan, McMaster University’s 2022/23 consolidated budget has been approved by the Board of Governors.

McMaster’s Board of Governors has approved the 2022-23 consolidated budget.

Designed to support McMaster’s mission, institutional priorities and student success, the 2022-23 consolidated budget positions the university well to further its broader vision of advancing human and societal health and well-being.

“This budget is the result of a strong collaborative effort supported by faculties and areas across the university,” says President David Farrar.

“It reflects McMaster’s forward-looking approach and includes one-time investments that will advance strategic initiatives and expand and improve our academic and research capacity.”

A key budget focus is progressing Canada’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats. Nexus brings together researchers from across campus in an integrated approach to ensure the world is better prepared to prevent future pandemics, and will bolster Canada and the world’s recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our budgets must be prudently managed and focused on supporting the university’s strategic and capital priorities,” says Susan Tighe, provost and vice-president, Academic.

“We are a global and ambitious university and our students, researchers and everyone who works to support McMaster’s success can be proud of what we have accomplished and excited about what the future holds.”

During the pandemic, the university invested to make sure health and safety was the top priority, supports were in place as classes moved online, and new research opportunities emerged.  The increased spending was supported in 2020-21 by an outstanding return on endowment trust funds (net of investment management fees) of over 26 per cent.

While the returns in 2021-22 were lower as the markets reacted to the war in Ukraine, rising interest rates and supply shortages, investment returns will help the university manage inflationary costs. The continued high demand for McMaster programs boosted by the university’s global reputation and rankings has seen strong student enrolment throughout the pandemic.

Looking forward, faculty renewal is an area of focus in the new budget, as the university plans to increase faculty hiring by 15 per cent by 2023-24 compared to 2021-22, to address enrolment growth. This will be align with McMaster’s equity, diversity and inclusion strategy with a focus on tenure-track and teaching-track appointments.

Ancillary units, including food services and parking, whose budgets were hard hit by campus closures and the hybrid return to campus, are optimistic that the next year will see those services rebound.  Ancillary services lost $7.8 million over the last two years with those budgets expecting to have regained that ground by the 2024-25 fiscal year.

All other areas have sound financial plans to advance McMaster’s strategic priorities, including a significant focus on projects aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The university’s financial health is among the strongest in Ontario thanks to the sound planning of area leaders and the transparency of the budget model, says John Preston, chair of McMaster’s budget committee and the Faculty of Engineering’s associate dean, Research and External Relations.

“McMaster remains financially resilient and we continually undertake financial scenario planning to ensure key material risks are considered and that our long-term approach supports our institutional priorities,” says Saher Fazilat, vice-president, Operations and Finance.

Find more information about McMaster’s budget and planning on the Office of the Provost’s website.

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