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Sudbury college reports record $41M budget surplus ahead of international student reductions

Cambrian president Kristine Morrissey told Cambrian’s board meeting Thursday evening that the college is preparing for leaner times next year. (File) Cambrian president Kristine Morrissey told Cambrian’s board meeting Thursday evening that the college is preparing for leaner times next year. (File)
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Boosted by record international student enrollment, Cambrian College posted a $41 million budget surplus for 2023-2024.

The surplus was a result of a record number of international students, which pushed the college’s tuition revenue to more than $176 million.

However, with news that the federal government is slashing the number of international students it will admit next year, Cambrian is already preparing for leaner times.

“This is our last good year,” Cambrian president Kristine Morrissey told Cambrian’s board meeting Thursday evening.

The $41 million surplus is the largest in its history and is up from $18 million a year earlier.

About $31 million of the surplus will be spent on capital projects and other campus improvements, Cambrian spokesperson Dan Lessard said in an email.

And to deal with the sudden and large cut in international student tuition revenue, Cambrian will put $10 million of the surplus into a stabilization fund for next year.

The money will help the college “weather the storm,” Morrissey said.

“We know that (surplus) is going to come down now.”

Cambrian’s finance staff presented a balanced budget for next year, Lessard said.

“We are very conservative when it comes to budgeting, to be safe, so we are forecasting a balanced budget,” he said.

“But we’ll have to see how that plays out over the year.”

The news comes after Sault College announced this week it has a $5.7 million budget shortfall, largely because of the cut in international student numbers.

“As a result, we're struggling financially,” Sault College president David Orazietti told CTV New reporter Mike McDonald.

Canadore facing a deficit

“We'll be looking at various areas where we can reduce costs. We'll be looking at non-salary and labour costs first. Obviously, professional development costs, travel costs, equipment, supplies, before we take a look at our staffing. But we will have difficult choices to make.”

Officials at Canadore College in North Bay said they are also facing a budget shortfall.

“Canadore College has approved a deficit budget of $8.3 million for 2024-2025,” spokesperson Cindy Males said in an email.

“Our programs remain in high demand among students and employers. Business and industry are encouraging the college to produce more graduates to fill the skills shortages that are increasing in all sectors.”

She said no program cuts or suspensions are planned at Canadore.

“Canadore continues to work with partners and government to ensure the college meets skilled labour needs,” Males said.

Northern College in Timmins didn’t respond to a message from CTV News seeking information on their fiscal situation. 

With files from Mike McDonald

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