Frequently asked questions
Funding & special projects
Approximately 53 per cent of our operating budget comes from tuition fees, 37 per cent from grants, and ten per cent from other income-generating activities.
Over 80% of our expenditures are for academic and student support operations, with remaining funds supporting activities such as building maintenance, campus computing and technological services, research services, and administrative functions.
Approximately three-quarters of our operating expenditures are comprised of salaries and benefits. The majority of these costs are determined by negotiated collective agreements with our three main unions: the Toronto Metropolitan University Faculty Association (TFA), the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
In 2019-20, the Government of Ontario required universities to reduce domestic tuition fees by 10 per cent relative to 2018-19 levels. This brought fees back to approximately 2015-16 levels. Fees have remained frozen at that reduced level and the freeze is expected to continue in 2023-24 with no adjustments for inflation. Fees for international enrolment and cost-recovery programs are not subject to this policy.
Forgoing a tuition increase for even one year has a cumulative impact that will last for years to come. In every year following the freeze, any increases will be based on a lower tuition amount, meaning there will be a continued gap between inflation and incremental revenue.
Toronto Metropolitan University will continue ongoing conversations with our sector partners and take part in discussions with the Ministry regarding guidelines and implementation details. In tandem, Toronto Metropolitan University will continue to develop contingency plans and options to address potential revenue loss.
The university receives funding for capital projects from sources such as special, one-time government infrastructure allocations or from donations, and the funds are earmarked for specific building projects. Funds for capital projects are one-time only and are not part of the university’s base budget, which funds ongoing expenditures. Capital projects are therefore not affected by base budget reductions, and deferring capital projects will not result in base savings to the university.
The university’s Academic Plan 2020-25 incorporates extensive feedback from students, faculty, and staff. Budget planning and resource allocations are directly tied to the following five priorities, which will guide the direction of the university:
- The Student Experience;
- Scholarly, Research, and Creative Activity and Graduate Studies;
- Advancing Indigenous Initiatives;
- Innovation: Continuing to Challenge the Status Quo; and,
- Community and Urban Partnerships.
Toronto Metropolitan University has also undertaken broad internal and external consultations on a range of foundational strategies that will help guide and shape our institution. A developing blueprint, these five complementary plans (including the Academic Plan) articulate our academic and strategic directions:
Donations tend to be directed to support designated student bursaries, short-term initiatives or specific projects, rather than being available for general operating purposes.
For permanent staff positions and long-term commitments (e.g., maintenance of buildings, utilities), the university cannot rely on short-term donations or other one-time only funds such as short-term grants or contracts.
Strategic Mandate Agreements (SMAs) are documents established through negotiations with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities that provide universities and colleges an opportunity to communicate priorities, identify areas of institutional strength/focus, and set performance metrics. Toronto Metropolitan University and the Ministry signed the 2020-2025 Strategic Mandate Agreement (external link) on August 31, 2020.
Funding related to performance on metrics will first be at risk under the 2020-2025 Strategic Mandate Agreement beginning in 2023-24, unless the Ontario government extends the three-year delay in activation of performance-based funding which it implemented due to uncertainty regarding future impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the SMA3 metrics.
Toronto Metropolitan University successfully completed the Ministry’s SMA3 Year 2 Annual Evaluation in 2022, and is currently participating in the Ministry’s SMA3 Year 3 Annual Evaluation process (from December 12, 2022 to March 6, 2023) which continues data collection and analysis, assesses 2022-23 performance, and sets targets for 2023-24.
Yes, for example Toronto Metropolitan University University is expanding its global partnerships into the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the launch of a satellite campus in Cairo, Egypt. Toronto Metropolitan University’s Cairo campus, whose physical presence is facilitated by Universities of Canada in Egypt, gives local students the opportunity to earn a Toronto Metropolitan University degree in an environment that emulates the Canadian university experience.
Another example is the long-term strategic partnership between Toronto Metropolitan University and Navitas. The cornerstone of this partnership, known as Toronto Metropolitan University University International College (TMUIC) (external link) , launched in the winter of 2021. It is a new, additional pathway program for international students designed to ease the transition to a Canadian university environment and to prepare them for academic success. The partnership will accelerate Toronto Metropolitan University’s internationalization goals by growing and diversifying its international student population and enhancing Toronto Metropolitan University’s global reach.
Our current level of revenue is constrained by limits on domestic enrolment. These new initiatives will advance our university’s strategic vision and generate new revenues that would otherwise not be available. The expectation is that the ongoing activities related to these initiatives will be supported by new, incremental revenue that is not related to our current enrolment. The Government of Ontario, for example, has announced its support for the school of medicine, including funding for 80 undergraduate and 95 postgraduate seats that are financed separately from TMU’s existing enrolment. The City of Brampton is donating an existing building along with funds to support required renovations to establish the physical site for the school, and TMU is working with the Federal and Provincial governments and private donors to seek additional funding to support capital development.
Along with sector partners and the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), we continue to make the case for sustainable, ongoing funding. While we have made some small gains this year, including a modest increase in funds for maintenance of facilities, we have not yet attained an increase in the level of our operating grants. This continues to be a goal, and we will continue to demonstrate the need for an increased level of ongoing funding. That said, with an Ontario deficit of $12.9 billion being projected for 2022-23, followed by $8.1 billion in 2023-24, it is unlikely that we will see significant changes in funding from the government.
The funding metrics that are part of the government’s Strategic Mandate Agreement process make an increasing portion of an institution’s existing government grants subject to meeting performance targets rather than allocating any new funding.
Like all Ontario universities, TMU is governed autonomously, with oversight from the Board of Governors. TMU’s Board requires the university to present a balanced budget on an annual basis. This policy is a key pillar of the university’s responsible financial stewardship.
All Ontario universities are experiencing financial impacts from the tuition freeze and capped funded enrolment. TMU works with universities from across the province through the Council of Ontario Universities to share best practices on financial matters and to advocate for increased government funding.
As of April 2023, the provincial government will require all Ontario universities to report regularly on eight financial accountability metrics to assess their financial stability. TMU contributed to the development of these metrics through the Council of Ontario Universities. As a result of responsible financial management over the years, TMU is on solid financial footing.
Students, faculty & staff
We understand the financial burden faced by many students. Student support expenditures for 2022-23 to date (as of January 31, 2023) total $45.1 million.
In addition, the Government of Canada has suspended the accumulation of interest on Canada Student Loans until at least March 31, 2023.
More information about financial support is available on the Student Financial Assistance website.
International tuition has been reviewed on a program-by-program basis and, in some instances, has been increased to be more in line with our peer institutions.
As demonstrated in past years, Toronto Metropolitan University is focused on our core values throughout the budget-planning and consultation process – especially protecting and enhancing the student experience. The 2023-24 budget cycle will continue to prioritize the student community. In the past year, the university has made significant investments in student wellness, for example.
Student aid is funded through a combination of tuition fees and additional revenue streams, such as donations. In some cases, specific bursaries are funded through allocations made from department/faculty budgets.
TMU participates in the Student Access Guarantee (SAG) as required by the provincial government, covering direct costs for unmet need as assessed by OSAP through scholarships, bursaries or work-study employment.
International tuition provides an important revenue stream for TMU. This revenue supports core teaching and learning functions at the university, and is also used for student support services, including international student support.
Enrolment, Recruitment and International
Given student demand for Toronto Metropolitan University programs, we are on track to meet domestic enrolment targets this coming Fall 2023. It is important to note that Toronto Metropolitan University is unable to increase domestic enrolment because the government has capped the number of funded spaces. International enrolment is planned to increase in 2023-24, although we are aware that there have been government delays with visa approvals that have made it challenging for some international students to enroll over the past year. Our current level of international enrolment is low relative to other Ontario universities, and increasing this is an important objective.
The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education offers a combination of degree-credit and certificate-credit courses. Degree credit enrolment is counted as part of our enrolment that is funded by government, which, at the overall university level, is capped. Other Chang School enrolments that are not degree-credit are not subject to limits and we will work to increase enrolment in these courses.
Approximately 90 per cent of our operating revenues come from tuition fees and grants associated with enrolment. In other words, our financial health as an institution relies on enrolment. Demand for Toronto Metropolitan University programs is strong. That said, domestic spaces are capped by the government, which precludes us from increasing the number of domestic students to generate additional revenue.