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Budget Planning Process

Guiding principles

The Board of Governors has stipulated that the university maintain a balanced operating budget. With this in mind, Ryerson adheres to four guiding principles when preparing its annual budget:

  1. Priority on students; 
  2. Fairness and transparency; 
  3. Forward looking; and 
  4. Wide consultation with the community. 

In adhering to these principles, the university has been able to pursue its mission, invest in critical new initiatives that support the vision of the academic plan, and enhance Ryerson’s reputation for its distinct approach to teaching, scholarly, research and creative activity, and campus development.

A transparent, consultative process

Ryerson University undertakes an annual budget planning process that is led by the provost and vice president academic.  The six-month exercise typically begins in late November/ early December and concludes when a budget is presented to the Board of Governors in April for their review and approval.

Budget development timeline

Budget Development Timeline: 2017-18

Budget Development Timeline. The budget cycle begins in December, where academic and administrative units are asked to prepare budget submissions. In January, an academic and administrative unites submit budget requests to the provost's office. Community consultations begin. In February, community consultations continue and an ongoing discussion of budget submissions with budget planning group takes place. Discussions of budget submissions continue and the preparation of the university budget based on consultation process takes place. In April, the budget is submitted to the Board of Governors for discussion and approval, concluding the Budget Development Timeline.

The budget is informed by extensive and broad consultation with Ryerson’s community of students, faculty and staff. Campus-wide town hall meetings are held; there are discussions and updates at Senate; and meetings with vice-presidents, academic deans, directors and chairs, as well as with bargaining units and student unions.

52% of operating revenues are from tuition fees, 45% from government grants, and 3% from other sources.

Approximately 50% of our operating budget comes from tuition fees and the other half from government grants. This means that even if tuition increases by 3% in a given year, our overall operating budget increases by only 1.5%. 

64% of operating expenses fund salaries, 19% non-salary expenses, 12% benefits, and 5% student aid.

80% of our operating budget goes towards salaries and benefits. With over 6,000 employees, the majority of these costs are determined by negotiated labour agreements with our three main unions: the Ryerson Faculty Association (RFA), the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

About three-quarters of our expenditures are for academic operations, with remaining funds supporting activities such as building maintenance, campus computing and technological services, research services and administrative functions.

We understand the financial burden faced by many students. Over the past six years, Ryerson has increased student financial assistance by 80%. In 2015-16, Ryerson provided $32.6 million in student financial support, and a further $3.5 million in work-study funding.

Since 2008-09, the Ontario Government has increased the amount of student loan funding by 98% and has nearly quadrupled grants to students. This means that more and more of the support provided to students does not need to be repaid.

In addition, while Ryerson’s tuition levels are comparable to those charged across the province, our ancillary fees are lower than almost all other Ontario universities.

Revenue lost from 0% fee increase in one year followed by 3% fee increase every year thereafter

The Ontario Government allows universities to implement an average fee increase of 3%. This does not cover the cost of inflation, as Government grants are not increased.

Foregoing a tuition increase for even one year will have an impact for years to come: the lost revenue can never be recovered, as the Government does not allow universities to “catch up” if they choose to freeze fees for a year.  The income lost from skipping a tuition increase for just one year is $83 million within the first 10 years after the freeze, climbing to over $260 million across 25 years.

Donations are typically made for specific initiatives or projects rather than being available for general operating purposes.  More importantly, funds received support short-term initiatives.  Except in the case of rare, very large endowments, which donors typically provide for scholarships or new buildings, funds are not sufficient to support long-term, ongoing operations.  From one year to the next, there would be no certainty about the amounts that could be raised.  With permanent staff positions and long-term commitments (e.g., maintenance of buildings, utilities), the university cannot rely on short-term donations. 

Communication updates

New content in regards to the 2017/18 budget cycle will be added regularly as it becomes available.

external,Ryerson Board of Governors approves university’s 2017-18 budget (April 28, 2017)

Budgets & financial statements

Ryerson is committed to accountability and transparency. To access current and past annual budgets and financial statements, click on the following links – note these pages are hosted on Ryerson’s Financial Services website:

external,Current and past annual budgets

external,Current and past audited financial statements

Town halls

Three town halls were held for the community to discuss the university’s 2016-17 budget:

  • February 6, 2017, 12-1pm - LIB072
  • February 14, 2016, 6-7pm - EPH142
  • February 15, 2016, 1:30-2:30pm - TRS1-149