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What would we do with more funds? | Isn't McGill already rich?
Campaign McGill | Our endowment


What we would do with more funds

Different universities have different missions, situations and defining qualities, and they each need the flexibility to set their own priorities. At McGill, we need to invest new funding on:

  1. Talent: more support—financial and otherwise—for our students, including a commitment to spend 30% of all new net tuition revenue on improving student aid and accessibility; competitive compensation and improved academic support for professors.
  2. Infrastructure: urgent repairs to our buildings; the modernization of our space to accommodate 21st century teaching and research.
  3. Reducing our deficit: to ensure that McGill can remain competitive in the long term.

Isn't McGill already rich?

Not by a long shot. In 2007, McGill had $650 million in maintenance that needed to be done to bring buildings up to accepted standards.

In fall 2012, Maclean's magazine's annual university rankings issue found that Quebec’s four medical-doctoral universities are in Canada's bottom five for operating funding per student. That finding aligns with a report from the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities, which found that in 2009-10 our universities' operating budgets were underfunded by $850 million compared with the Canadian average, or $4,090 per full-time student.

As well, as a research-intensive university, we're hit especially hard by the indirect costs of research.

Don't you get a lot of money in donations? 

Like all universities, we’re hugely grateful to our supporters, and their gifts make an enormous difference—without them, we simply couldn’t afford some of the aid, services and other support we offer our students.

We need more philanthropy—not less.

We’ve worked hard to build this wonderful network of alumni and donors, but their contributions can’t replace strong government investment. They make a big difference, but they certainly don’t make McGill "rich".

We believe that Quebec’s universities need more funding and more philanthropy—not less.

Giving with a purpose

As well, our donors require that we spend their gifts in specific ways, and they can't be used for deferred maintenance or general operations.

  • More than 70% of Campaign funding, for example, is going to support students, through things like financial aid and new programs. 
  • Nearly 525 new scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, awards and internships have been created, thanks to Campaign donations. 

Donations are a very necessary part of the funding mix for universities, but they are not the sole answer. Donor giving can fall when the economy dips. We need strong, predictable funding from government, donors and tuition revenue to ensure that student support and services are not at risk, and the quality of education can remain high.

Why not just spend your endowment money? 

Every so often we're asked why, given our underfunding, we don't just spend the money in our endowment. We can't. Our agreements with donors require that the money be invested and only the income spent, so that their support continues year after year. The income we can spend from our endowment represents about $41 million per year, and nearly all must be spent on specific priorities.