budget 2024–25

What you need to know

In April 2024, SFU’s Board of Governors approved the 2024–25 consolidated budget. Informed and influenced by the institutional strategy and other university-wide plans, our yearly budget will guide SFU’s academic program delivery, research initiatives and administration. 

A balanced budget

  • Despite financial challenges facing the post-secondary sector, SFU’s 2024–25 budget is balanced, a testament to our thorough planning and budget management processes and the commitment and collaboration from units and faculties across the university. 
  • Our multi-year projections presented to the board help to assess long-term financial sustainability and we are predicting a balanced budget over the next five years. 

Maintaining long-term financial stability

  • Financial challenges facing the post-secondary sector have created a moment for change at SFU and other leading universities. For us at SFU, we responded to these factors by establishing a new budget model with stronger ties to the Provost and academic priorities of the university. These changes bring enhanced financial scrutiny, investment in systems, ongoing savings and efficiency and stronger reporting and oversight.
  • We continue to navigate lower international enrolments and overall financial market volatility and have made difficult decisions to ensure budget stability in future years. 
  • Our leaders are key to supporting our long-term financial stability and we continue to work for students and the academic mission. We are working closely with our leaders to develop team plans that enhance their portfolio while finding efficiencies. 
  • We continue to invest in systems and processes that will strengthen service levels and support critical work for students and the university's academic mission.
  • Quarterly monitoring of actual results against the approved budget with multi-year projections, updated semi-annually, will help us adjust where necessary. 

Mitigating uncertainties in the sector

  • Since 2023, the university has implemented several cost-saving measures, including encouraging fiscal restraint and an administrative hiring freeze. These measures have helped, but more efforts will be needed to manage ongoing budget pressures.
  • The university has made the decision to restructure certain areas of its operations with an aim to increase efficiency and reduce duplication. We are also reviewing service levels for key functional areas to seek efficiencies while improving service.
  • We continue to monitor key risks such as international enrolment and financial market volatility.
  • Variances are an expected and normal part of budget management. Budgets are prepared based on certain assumptions and at a point in time. Any changes in the assumptions can create a variance. We will manage variances by planning for fluctuation, monitoring closely, and adjusting as needed. 

Tuition changes

  • $4.3 million in annual support for graduate students was approved as part of the 2023–24 budget, and we are following through on that commitment, with the full amount included in the 2024–25 budget.
  • 2024–25 tuition increases are proposed as 2% for all domestic students, and all regular fee graduate programs. 
  • International undergraduate students will see increases of 4% for continuing students, and 6% for new students. International graduate students will see increases of 4% for all specialty fee programs except those with an existing international differential, which will increase by 6%.
  • 2024–25 planned enrolments reflect the University Enrolment Plan submitted for Senate approval in March 2024. The 2024–25 target for international undergrads is 18.9% of domestic undergrads. This target is supported by extensive efforts across the university.

Key Facts

  • Budget pressures, including declining international student enrolment, a high inflationary environment and rising interest rates, have been increasing over the last few years, affecting SFU and other leading universities. 
  • SFU maintains a strong financial position, reflected in its Aa1 credit rating with a stable outlook. 
  • SFU experienced financial challenges in 2023–24 due to a decline in international student enrolments, losses on divestments, and rising interest ratesSince 2023, the university has implemented several cost-saving measures, including encouraging fiscal restraint and an administrative hiring freeze.   
  • During the 2024–25 fiscal year, the operating budget was expected to have a shortfall of approximately $49.9M due to a decline in international student enrolments, increase in pension costs for Admin/Union staff pension plan and investment in strategic areas like living wages and graduate student support. 
  • We are operating within a very fluid environment and making decisions with real-time information to ensure our actions are aligned with the latest numbers.
  • We are working hard and doing all we can to support employees through the budget challenges with care and compassion while upholding our commitment to equity.