Big Bucks In Board Budget

Board Budget
The “overview page” of the college’s 2018-19 budget, presented to and approved by the Board of Governors during its March 27th meeting.

The continuing influx of international students – which is expected to create a record enrolment of approximately 12,000 students during the next academic year – will lead to unprecedented revenues, and expenditures, for St. Clair.

That is the picture provided by the 2018-19 budget, approved by the college’s Board of Governors (BofG) during its March 27th meeting.

Chief Financial Officer Marc Jones presented the financial plan.

This year (2017-18), the college enjoyed record-setting revenues of approximately $139 million – again, chiefly associated with the huge enrolment of international students.

Next year, that globally sourced enrolment trend is anticipated to pick up even more steam, leading to projected revenues of approximately $177.4 million – an increase of 27 percent above 2017-18.

The administration estimates that approximately 4,300 international students will be enrolled at the Windsor and Thames/Chatham campuses in 2018-19, roughly double the 2017-18 population. Tuition from international students is expected to generate almost $53 million in revenue in the coming year.

Domestic/Canadian student enrolment is expected by drop slightly to about 7,600 students, generating $26.5 million in tuition revenue. (The average tuition increase will be three percent above 2017-18 rates.)

Basic operational funding from the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) will remain fairly stagnant, at $48.3 million; as will special-and-specific provincial and federal grants (about $13 million).

Assorted other revenue sources (Contract Training, the partnership with the Ace Acumen Academy in Toronto, investment income, etc.) are anticipated to rise from $22 million to $24 million.

And “ancillary revenue” (cash made from non-academic operations such as parking fees, the banquet and theatre facilities of the Centre for the Arts, athletics, food services, the bookstore and Residence management contracts, etc.) will remain at the current level of $10 million.

On the expenditure side of the ledger …

… Serving more students means more costs, chiefly for faculty and staff to provide instruction and services to that expanded population. Salaries-and-benefits are expected to rise to approximately $102 million in 2018-19 – up 28.5 percent compared to this year’s $79.2 million.

Assorted other expenses (utilities, contracted services, equipment maintenance and rentals, taxes, security, insurance, amortization etc.) are projected to total $64 million, up from $46 million this year.

Costs associated with ancillary operations (see above) remain fairly static at $8.9 million …

… For a total, on the expenditure side, of $174.7 million – up from $134 million in 2017-18.

Total revenues for 2018-19 ($177,368,000) minus total expenditures ($174,694,000) lead to a projected surplus for the year of $2,674,000 at the fiscal year-end of March 31, 2019.

Also included in Jones’ presentation – for the first time ever – was a guesstimate of the next two fiscal years (2019-20 and 2020-21) … and that picture is a rather pessimistic one.

Even though international enrolment is expected to remain vibrant, the ongoing decline in domestic/Canadian student numbers (due to this area’s stagnant birth-rate/population growth) leads to two revenue problems:

• a reduction in tuition revenue from domestic students: dropping from $26.5 million in 2018-19, to $25.9 million in 2019-20, and to $25.4 million in 2020-21; and

• even more dramatically … because MAESD operational funding is based upon per-domestic-student grants, provincial financing is expected to decline from $48.3 million in 2018-19, to $43.54 million in 2019-20, and $43.49 million in 2020-21.

The other major looming crisis arises from the cancellation of the four-years-old partnership between St. Clair and the Ace Acumen Academy in Toronto – and the loss of the $7 million annually in tuition and other revenues that it generates.

The provincial Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development has ordered the “wind-down” (elimination) of public/private college partnerships. The St. Clair/Acumen partnership will cease to exist at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. (See The Scene’s story about the public/private partnership wind-down, from last September, at

As the “wind-down” occurs, Jones’ projection sees revenues from the Acumen partnership dipping from $7 million to $4 million in 2019-20, and to zero the next year.

By 2020-21, the combined drop in basic MAESD funding and the loss of Acumen cash will mean that St. Clair’s revenues will have declined by approximately $12 million, compared to the current level …

… And that, Jones estimates, could lead to St. Clair sustaining a budgetary deficit of approximately $3.1 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year – unless new revenue sources (and/or dramatic cost-saving measures) are found and implemented in the interim between now and then.

Also during the meeting, Jones reviewed the college’s current-year financial status, as of the end of February – and that report included some very good news.

Due to the huge-but-largely-unanticipated increase in international enrolment, coupled with some dramatic new cost constraints applied by the administration on various expenditures, Jones forecasts that the college will end its 2017-18 fiscal year (at the end of March) with a surplus of approximately $15 million.

That money could be used in a variety of ways, such as:

• some may be immediately injected into the 2018-19 budget, to carry out classroom and facilities improvements during the next several months;

• some may be injected into the 2018-19 budget to cover some of the capital costs associated with the construction of the new Business Tower; and/or

• some of it may be retained in reserves, and then injected into the 2019-20 and 2020-21 budgets when the MAESD and Acumen funding are in decline.


The BofG’s agenda also included a report from Vice-President of Academics Waseem Habash, regarding programs that have been or are being proposed for mothballing - due to chronically low enrolment, because they’ve been incorporated into other programs, or because the related occupations have become largely non-existent in this area.

Habash’s report noted: “A program that is in suspended status can be re-activated by a college, whereas a program in cancelled status is removed entirely from the college’s offerings and may never be activated again, unless a complete program submission is made to the Credentials Validation Service (CVS) and MAESD.”

Currently in “suspended” status are: Entrepreneurship, Wind Turbine Technician, Mechanical Engineering Technology-Mechatronics, Registered Practical Nurse-Perioperative, and Advanced Care Paramedic.

Non-operational at the moment, but still “active”, are: Mechanical Techniques-Precision Metal Cutting (program relaunch scheduled for this fall), and Manufacturing Engineering Technology (program to be “revitalized” this fall).

Still “active”, but being switched to part-time delivery via the Continuing Education Department, are Chemical Dependency Counselling and Compensation Claims Management.


The BofG also received a report from Vice-President of International Relations, Training and Campus Development Ron Seguin, depicting the “Athletic Performance Indicators” of the college’s varsity sports team members.

During 2016-17:

• the average Grade Point Average (GPA) of Saints was 2.841;

• 83.4 percent of athletes “passed every course they took, and maintained a minimum GPA of 2.0, achieving the requirement to receive a $1,250 athletic scholarship per semester”;

• varsity teams achieved 126 wins, 62 losses and eight ties;

• Saint teams were ranked provincially 54 times, and nationally 19 times; and

• Varsity Athletics, as a department, brought in approximately $1.96 million in revenue to the college.