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McGill's Financial Situation

2014 - 2015 Budget: Coming soon

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2013-2014 Budget | Financial Challenges | Performance

2013-2014 Budget


$1.2 billion

McGill's total anticipated FY2014 budget across four funds: operating, restricted, capital, and endowment.

*includes research and endowment funds



Operating Budget

$721.4 million

Total projected operating revenue

$731.7 million

Total projected operating expenses


Projected Operating Expenses

Annual deficit

$13.1 million

FY 2013 actual annual deficit

$10.4 million

FY 2014 projected annual deficit

Cost-reduction measures to address operating revenue shortfall

$21.1 million

Voluntary retirement program and other staff reduction measures

$14.9 million

Salary freeze

$7.5 million

Non-salary related savings


Result of the measures

The cost-reduction measures are devised to preserve McGill’s academic and research mission and excellence, and balance the budget within the next two years, as planned in the last multi-year budget.

Once the budget is balanced, the University must attempt to generate sufficient surpluses to begin paying off the projected accumulated cash deficit of about $125M, and begin addressing total liabilities in the accumulated deficit.

Effect of the cost-reduction measures:


Student Financial Support

$26.8 million

in student aid, from the operating budget. McGill is committed to contributing at least 30% of incremental net tuition to student aid.

$113.8 million

in student aid from other sources, including the Restricted Fund (donor funded fellowships and other endowment income).


Research Funding


Debt incurred from infrastructure expenses constitutes a significant portion of McGill’s annual operating budget.



Financial Challenges

Revenue shortfall

$38.3 million

government cuts to operating revenue

$18 million

loss of 2012 tuition increase

Additional growing expenditures

Pension plan under increasing pressure

Less money coming in—due to lower investment returns—and more money going out—due to low interest rates and increased life expectancies—means that future pension liabilities are increasing faster than the anticipated growth in the Plan’s assets. This puts McGill’s pension plan and operating budget under increasing pressure. More information.

McGill’s pension plan deficit is expected to more than double over 3 years.*


Pension deficit as of December 2009


Estimated pension deficit as of December 2012


As a result of deficits, the special contributions needed to offset funding deficiencies in the pension plan are increasing at a rate that is not sustainable.

*Deficit based on an evaluation basis. The solvency deficit (i.e. the amount that would be needed to meet all obligations if the pension plan shut down immediately) is higher.

Buildings and infrastructure

The need to maintain and repair older buildings creates significant financial demands.

$835 million

(according to a 2009 study)**: Amount of deferred maintenance accumulated over time due to lack of funding.

$100 million

Estimated annual amount needed (over the last six years), on top of current maintenance funding, to meet recommended maintenance standards.

** for buildings that fall under the government grant as well as student residences



Academic rankings

Despite our chronic underfunding, McGill ranks as one of the top universities in the world. The University has placed:


among Canadian medical-doctoral universities in Maclean's annual rankings for the last seven years (2005-2011)


in the QS World University rankings in 2012


in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2012


in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), in 2012, as compiled by Shanghai Jiaotong University.

Notwithstanding the variety of criteria used by different organizations, our University places highly in these league tables. 

Comparison with Canadian peers

Maclean's Medical Doctoral 2012QS World University Rankings 2012
McGill 1 18
British Columbia 2 45
Toronto 3 19
Queen's 4 175
Alberta 5 108
McMaster 6* 152
Dalhousie 6* 243
Calgary 8 214
Western 9 173
Ottawa 10 240
Montréal 12* 114
Laval 12* 324
Waterloo - 191

* indicates a tie


Degrees that get you noticed

In a 2012 survey, employers ranked McGill's degrees as the 33rd most-prestigious in the world, the highest ranking earned by a Canadian institution. 

QS Employer Rank 2012
McGill 33
Toronto 35
British Columbia 72
Waterloo 101
Queen's 110
Western 134
Alberta 217
Simon Fraser 301+

Highly rated financial management

Recognition for Budget Process

The Government Finance Officers of North America recognized McGill with a recent distinguished budget presentation award.

Outstanding credit rating

In a December 2012 report, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services confirmed McGill’s credit rating at AA- (Stable), one notch above that of the province of Quebec. As the report states, this is proof of McGill’s “excellent student-demand and research profile” and a moderate debt load, relative to its peer institutions. 

Top 25th percentile for pension management

The McGill University Pension Plan sits in the top 25 percentile of a comparator group of Canadian pension plans (BNY Mellon asset servicing).