2024-25 Budget: Despite Drop In International Enrolment, We're Still In The Black


The two-years-long “pause” on international student immigration introduced by the federal government will dramatically reduce St. Clair’s revenue, but the school still anticipates that it will operate profitably in the 2024-25 fiscal year, according to the budget presented to the Board of Governors during its meeting on March 26.

(Ontario’s public colleges operate on the provincial government’s fiscal year, beginning on April 1 and concluding on March 31.)

The financial forecast presented to the Board by Vice-President of Finance/Chief Financial Officer Marc Jones predicts a year-end surplus (more revenue than expenditure) of approximately $13.1 million.

That is $39 million (75 percent) less than the $52.1 million surplus that the college is projected to enjoy when the books are closed on the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Still, however, the predicted “profit” in the coming year – if achieved – would be the college’s seventh consecutive annual surplus of eight digits (exceeding $10 million).

Nevertheless, Jones’ budget presentation was the first indication of the effect of the new limitations on international student immigration, announced by the federal government in January.

Although the wide-open immigration policy had been the federal Liberals’ idea to begin with a half-dozen years ago, the government is now “pausing” the welcoming of global students for the next two years. That pause is designed to allow Canada to better cope with the influx of immigration, in terms of the availability of housing and pressure on the health-care system.

Nation-wide, the issuance of international student visas is slated to be reduced by 30 percent; and, in Ontario – the host of the largest number of global enrollees – by approximately 50 percent.


Also complicating the situation, in St. Clair’s case (and in that of a dozen other public colleges in the province), is a federal crackdown affecting public/private partnered schools.

St. Clair, for instance, has a decade-long relationship with the multi-campus Ace Acumen Academy in the Greater Toronto Area. It is a private-sector school, that provides secondary school education and English-language training to immigrants (chiefly from Asia). In the mid-2010s, it began searching for a public college that it could partner with, in order to provide its students with some follow-up – and on-site – postsecondary education opportunities. After months of negotiation, in early 2014, it launched such a partnership with St. Clair. With abundant academic oversight and licensing its curriculum to the private school, St. Clair offers these programs at Ace Acumen: Business, Computer Systems Technician–Networking, Data Analytics for Business, Office Administration–Health Services, International Business Management–Logistics, Human Resources Management, and Social Service Worker-Gerontology.

The federal government (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) has now “lumped in” public/private partnered colleges with strictly-private career colleges. It has, rightly or wrongly, described many of those as “bad actors” which provide little in the way of actual academic services, and charging exorbitant fees to students solely so that they can get to Canada to work and seek residency.

Again, rightly or wrongly, the IRCC is now denying international students enrolled at private colleges the ability to obtain Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs), which allow them to remain in Canada for a couple of years after their schooling, to seek employment and pursue residency/citizenship status.

And, rightly or wrongly, the IRCC has extended that cancellation of PGWPs to the students of public/private partnered colleges – such as the St. Clair/Ace Acumen tandem.

The loss of that opportunity to pursue employment and residency/citizenship is expected to severely curtail enrolment at public/private partnered colleges.

Those partnerships have provided the public institutions with significant sources of newfound tuition revenue during the past several years.

The impact of the Ace Acumen-related situation will not be fully felt by St. Clair this year, because second- and third-year students are still enrolled at the Toronto-area campuses. But it is expected that first-year (incoming) enrolment will eventually evaporate, so this revenue source will be severely depleted next year and afterwards – unless the federal government can be convinced that public/private partnerships are not equivalent to the “bad actors” of the career college industry (and, thus, allow PGWPs to continue to be allocated to public/private students).


What was particularly ironic about this aspect of the 2024-25 budget presentation was that the March 26th meeting also saw the Board presented with an extensive report about the college’s efforts to provide comprehensive services to students enrolled in the St. Clair portion of Ace Acumen.

Several years, the provincial government demanded that, if public colleges were to enjoy the revenues from private-partnered schools, they must ensure that the “full college experience” was provided to students at such institutions: with a wide range of academic services and extracurricular activities.

St. Clair has delivered all of that, both with offices provided by the college’s administration and by the implementation of on-site Student Representative Council staffing for student services and activities.

The report on Ace Acumen-based servicing noted that St. Clair has also effectively responded to a provincial demand to ensure that it is represented in overseas countries by reputable and responsible recruitment agents.

That report, describing how the college is living up to the strenuous provincial regulations governing public/private partnerships, contradicts the IRCC’s dim view of the academic quality of such “sister schools” – and it is that misconception that the partnered colleges must address to resecure PGWPs for their students.


What the college has not had to do – yet – is to use the past half-dozen years of accumulated surpluses, that have been set aside into reserves, as an injection of revenue to cover enrolment/tuition losses.

It might be possible, too, that Jones’ estimate of provincial ministry grant funding may be conservatively low. In late-January, in part to offset the impact of the federal immigration restrictions, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities announced that it would be providing some increased “stabilization” funding to postsecondary schools. Those as-yet unspecified funds are not fully reflected in the current budget’s calculations.

Jones’ budget projects a 30 percent decline in international enrolment at the Windsor and Chatham campuses, caused by the IRCC-ordered visa reduction.

It also anticipates a four percent increase in domestic enrolment by Canadian students (locally, and from elsewhere in Ontario and Canada). That may put some pressure on the college’s marketing and recruitment staffers, because the low local birth-rate has meant that domestic enrolment has been largely stagnant (at best) for the past dozen years. Last year, domestic enrolment increased by two percent – the first such hike in recent memory.


Here is the report by Jones which accompanied his budget presentation to the Board:

The Financial Plan Report is consistent with the operational requirements and capital expenditures framework of the current Strategic Directions.

The Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget approved by the Board on November 28, 2023 provided for a surplus position of $52,113,848. The Statement of Operations Budget for 2024-25 is projecting a surplus of $13,093,586, representing a decrease of $39,020,262 or 75 percent over the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget.

The projection for total operating and ancillary revenue for 2024-25 is $304,206,765, representing a decrease of $32,568,161 or 10 percent over the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget of $336,774,926.

The projection for total operating and ancillary expenditures for 2024-25 is $291,113,179, representing an increase of $6,452,101 or 2 percent over the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget of $284,661,078.


The following highlights the major changes in revenue compared to the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget:

• Total Ministry of Colleges and Universities Operating Grants increased by $1,395,228 or 3 percent of the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget primarily due to the following:

– Decrease in the International Student Recovery program due to planned lower international student enrolment;

– Appropriate planning to reflect 2024-25 being the fifth year of Strategic Management Agreement performance-based funding where the second year of activation is scheduled.

• Total Contract Income decreased by $631,692 or 6 percent of the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget, primarily due to no wrap-up funding related to the Ontario government’s accelerated Personal Support Worker program.

• Total Tuition revenue decreased by $22,871,419 or 12 percent of the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget due to the following:

– Increase in domestic (Canadian) postsecondary tuition revenue of $770,147 or 3 percent, based on an enrolment projection of 7,225 domestic students. This is a planned increase of 4 percent, or 259 students, from the Day 10 Fall 2023 enrolment of 6,966, and does not reflect a tuition increase;

– Decrease in international postsecondary tuition revenue of $24,728,024 or 27 percent, based on an enrolment projection of 3,677 international students (in Windsor and Chatham, not including the public/private partnership with Ace Acumen in Toronto). This is a planned decrease of 30 percent or 1,592 students from the Fall 2023 enrolment of 5,269, and does not reflect a tuition increase.

• Increase in Public College Private Partnership (PCPP/Ace Acumen-generated) revenue of $1,163,256 or 1 percent, based on an enrolment projection of 4,119 international students. This is a planned increase of 5 percent or 216 students from the Fall 2023 enrolment of 3,903, and does not include a tuition increase.

• Total “Other” income decreased by $10,619,203 or 14 percent of the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget, due to decreases in Interest Income, Administration Fees and Insurance Fees related to the decrease in international student enrolment and forecasted lower interest rates.


The following highlights the major changes in expenditures compared to the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget:

• Total Salaries and Benefits increased by $1,608,775 or 2 percent of the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget due to the following:

– Administrative Full-Time salaries: $918,545 increase;

– Administrative Part-Time salaries: $1,166,955 decrease;

– Faculty Full-Time salaries: $1,262,149 increase;

– Faculty Part-Time salaries: $1,164,301 increase;

– Support Full-Time salaries: $725,568 increase;

– Support Part-Time salaries: $1,723,990 decrease;

– Fringe Benefits of $429,157 due to the above salary increases and rising benefit costs.

The $1,608,775 increase is due to full-time positions across several constituent groups not being filled during the 2022-23 year and hiring was delayed, compensation and re-organization adjustments. In addition, part-time support staffing resources have been adjusted to those levels required to address projected enrolment levels.

• Total Non-Salary Expenditures increased by $4,174,156 or 2 percent of the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 budget is primarily due to the following:

– Decrease in Contracted Services Other: $4,572,295;

– Increase in Instructional Supplies: $615,979;

– Increase in Premise Rental: $467,360;

– Increase in Stipends & Allowances & Scholarships: $4,248,233;

– Increase in Other Expenses: $959,799;

­– Increase in Amortization: $1,728,032.


The total Ancillary Operations surplus of $427,585 is a decrease of $510,245 from the Mid-Year Review 2023-24 surplus of $937,830. The decrease in the surplus projection is due to the following:

– Sports Park due to a redesign of lighting pole system drivers on all fields;

– Varsity Sports due to increased part-time staffing, scholarships and travel costs.


student fees

While tuition rates have remained frozen for another year by order of the provincial government, some of the college’s tacked-on student fees have changed, after negotiations between the administration and student organizations [Student Representative Council (SRC), Thames Students Incorporated (TSI), and Saints Student Athletic Association (SSAA).] Among the changes:

• There will be an optional, annual fee of $30 for a new, SRC-provided service: legal counselling. Students will be able to consult with lawyers, on-line and by phone, for matters such as landlord/tenant disputes and employment conditions. Like the SRC-administered domestic student health plan and Transit Windsor bus pass, students who feel they would never make use of the service can opt-out of the legal counselling program and seek a refund of the fee;

• The prior-mentioned programs will see fee hikes this year. The premium/fee for the domestic student health plan (prescriptions, dental- and vision-care) will increase to $335 from $310, and the annual fee for the Transit Windsor bus pass – still deeply discounted – will increase to $299 from $290. The fee for the international student health plan, administered by the college, stays at $700;

• $30 of the customary Academic Support fee is being transferred into the Athletics and Recreation Operating account this year. Academic supports will still be fully offered, because many of them are also covered by the SRC’s budget;

• The fee for the student ID card (“OneCard”) will drop to $15 from the current $20;

• Parking fees will increase. For an ungated lot, the permit rate will be $141 for a semester, up from $135 this year.

In total, an “average” domestic, first-year student (not enrolled in a high-demand/high-tuition program) will pay $4,412.41 in tuitin and fees in 2024-25, compared to $4,323.05 in 2023-24. An “average” international, first-year student will pay $15,695.52 in 2024-25, up from $15,631.19 in 2023-24.


Recent grads grade the college: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/governors-get-grads-grades

The year in athletics: https://news.stclair-src.org/need-know-news/report-board-athletic-saints-were-spectacular-year