College Still On Track For Year-end Surplus

budget update

Despite a few tweaks to the college's 2020-21 budget, the school will still conclude its fiscal year with a $25 million surplus, according to Vice-President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer Marc Jones.

During the November 24th Board of Governors' meeting, using the halfway-through-the-year numbers - as of September 30 - Jones slightly amended the projections contained in the original budget that had been approved in March.

(The college, like the provincial government, operates on a fiscal year running from April 1 to March 31.)

In March, Jones' budget had anticipated total revenues for the year of $267,759,008, total expenditures of $242,392,895, creating a year-end surplus of $25,366,113.

Based upon the midway "actuals" of September 30, he has now revised those numbers to an expectation of 2020-21 revenues totalling $246,097,933, total expenditures of $220,813,688, and (thus) a year-end surplus of $25,284,245.

Translation: While anticipated revenues will be eight percent less than projected when the original budget was set, anticipated expenditures will be nine percent lower ... so, while both of those numbers are reduced proportionally, the bottom-line surplus remains virtually unchanged.

St. Clair concluded its 2019-20 fiscal year with a surplus of $31 million.

At its September meeting, Jones had told the BofG that the pandemic's ongoing impact might affect the year-end number, but he was still anticipating a surplus of between $18 and $23 million - with a worst-case scenario of $13 million, and a best-case one of $30 million.

A month ago, The Scene observed that: It appears - remarkably - that the college's financial prognostications will not be unduly affected by the COVID situation, despite the fact that the budget was set just as the outbreak was making its way to Canada. As such, it did not include a great many doomy-and-gloomy scenarios or forecasts, because the impact of the pandemic could not really be accurately predicted at that time ...

... Doomy-and-gloomy scenarios which, as it turned out, have not arisen.

St. Clair, unlike a great many postsecondary institutions in Canada, has not seen its enrolment dip as a result of COVID. In fact, its full-time enrolment has increased - to 13,885, up from 12,817 in Fall 2019.

Also a couple of months ago, President Patti France informed the Board that "we appear to be one of the few postsecondary schools in the province that saw an enrolment increase this year; and, arising from that, we appear to be one of the few that appears capable of concluding our fiscal year (in March of next year) with 'black ink' on the bottom line."

It is the surprisingly stable enrolment and associated tuition fees, plus some moderate increases in provincial grants, which have led to solid revenues during the first half of the fiscal year, Jones reported - a pattern which is expected to continue during the second half of the year (into the second semester).

Simultaneously, cost controls on the expenditures side will also contribute to the mid-year, bottom-line black ink.

MORE STORIES FROM THE NOVEMBER MEETING OF THE COLLEGE'S BOARD OF GOVERNORS

The Acquisition of New Downtown Classroom Space: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/college-acquires-additional-downtown-classroom-space

The Annual Risk Management Report: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/pandemic-or-not-running-college-risky-business

A Full Description of Academic Transfer Opportunities: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/where-do-you-go-here-lots-choices

The College's Impact on the Economic Well-Being of Southwestern Ontario: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/college-portrayed-regional-economic-engine