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Concordia’s president: ‘We are taking important strides forward'

Alan Shepard provides an overview of the 2019-20 operating budget
May 29, 2019
By Alan Shepard


In recent years, we have built up considerable momentum in our journey to becoming a Next-Gen university. Going forward, sound finances and continued fiscal responsibility are key to supporting further momentum and future growth.

At the May 28 Board of Governors meeting, Concordia’s 2019-20 operating budget was presented and approved. 

Embedded in our 2019-20 budget is a deep commitment to investing in bold and transformational initiatives aligned with the nine strategic directions that guide our work while at the same time enhancing the student experience.

In 2019-20, we’re projecting total operating revenues of $535.9 million and total operating expenses of $534.7 million, which will result in an operating surplus of $1.2 million. This means we will have reached our goal of achieving a balanced budget — the first time we have been able to do so in six years, following a series of budget cuts by the Government of Quebec that began in 2010-11. Going forward, we will need to focus on recovering the cumulated deficit of $23 million. With continued prudence and discipline, we are confident that we can get there.

Supporting our students remains our first and foremost priority. Since 2013-2014 — and amidst challenging economic conditions — our total scholarship and bursary allocations increased by 29%, from $28.5 million to $36.7 million. New investment in the 2019-20 budget includes the introduction of $1.1 million of scholarships for international PhD students and $900,000 of entrance scholarships for new international undergrads. Read more about the 2019-20 operating budget.

Like all Quebec universities, Concordia relies on grants from the Government of Quebec. Earlier this year, it was announced that as of September 1, 2019, Quebec would no longer provide funding for any international undergraduate or professional, non-research Masters students — except for French or Belgian students. The impact to Concordia is $6.6 million of lost funding annually.

Our response to this change in Government of Quebec funding is to bring Concordia’s tuition fees for future international students more in line with the average of our peers through fee increases that are modest by comparison with national trends. This approach will allow us both to address the gap in funding and continue to support international students.

It’s worth noting that in contrast to the rest of Canada, the Government of Quebec will continue to fund international PhD & research Masters students. It’s also worth remarking that Quebec is the last provincial government to change its funding formula for international students. You can read more about the new international tuition fee model here.

As in previous years, a series of budget conversations will be held this Fall to provide the Concordia community with more details about our budget. In the meantime, I’d like to congratulate the 6,000 students who will be graduating at the Spring Convocation in June. We’re delighted to see you join the community of 220,000 proud Concordia alumni worldwide.

Together, we are taking important strides forward in becoming an even better university. Let’s keep that momentum going.

Alan Shepard

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