Dalhousie Budget

Up-to-date information about the university operating budget

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March 29, 2022

The 2022-23 Operating Budget has been approved by Dalhousie’s Board of Governors, along with tuition and student fees for the upcoming academic year.

Read the full budget announcement and details on tuition - March 29


To:                   The Dalhousie University community

From:               Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic; Chair, Budget Advisory Committee
                        Gitta Kulczycki, Vice-President Finance and Administration

Date:                Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Re:                   Approval of university operating budget and tuition and fees for 2022-23

This afternoon, the Dalhousie Board of Governors voted to approve the 2022-23 Dalhousie Operating Budget, along with tuition and fees for the upcoming academic year. The full operating budget can be viewed at dal.ca/budget.  

This year, the budget process was adjusted to allow for tuition/fees and the full operating budget to be approved prior to the start of the new fiscal year in April. By moving the budget timeline earlier, we hope to provide more clarity and create planning efficiencies for our university community. This change is also a precursor to development of a new budget model for Dalhousie, which will be a key priority in the year ahead.

Budget plan highlights

The 2022-23 Operating Budget Plan reflects the Dalhousie community’s budget and spending priorities and outlines how operating revenues will be allocated to advance the university’s mission. Its expenses cover compensation for faculty and staff, scholarship support, maintenance to campus buildings, libraries funding, investment in strategic priorities, and all the other day-to-day costs of running the university.

  • The 2022-23 operating budget is balanced with revenues and expenditures totaling $516.7M.
  • Overall Faculty and unit budgets will increase by 4.4%, a total of $16.2M which includes Faculties and units addressing a 1.5% gap between revenues and expenses.
  • Base funding for student assistance will increase by $1M. There will also be an additional $2.6M in student support from endowment funds.
  • Facilities renewal funding will increase by $4M, along with $500K to improve classroom technology
  • $9M is dedicated to Third Century Promise initiatives and other essential university priorities
  • $2M is allocated to address COVID-19 revenue impacts and additional costs.

Tuition and fees

The Board voted to approve a 3% increase to general tuition for 2022-23. This increase will be applied to the upcoming spring/summer, fall and winter academic terms.

Tuition increases are necessary to balance the operating budget, given the degree to which the costs of running the university increase at a faster rate than provincial operating funding. Appreciating the impact of these tuition increases, Dalhousie continues to prioritize student support and financial aid as a critical part of overall expenditures. Across all university funds (including research, endowment, and operating/ancillary funds), Dalhousie currently spends nearly $82M each year on student assistance, including scholarships, bursaries, student employment, research and external funds.

Full-time international tuition will also increase in 2022-23 by an additional $1,473 above the 3% general increase, as per the multi-year plan for international fees approved by the Board in 2019. This is the final year of these additional increases. A university task force is currently reviewing international tuition at Dalhousie and is aiming to provide recommendations to the Board that would be implemented for new students entering in Fall 2023.

For more information on the university operating budget, visit dal.ca/budget


Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic
Chair, Budget Advisory Committee

Gitta Kulczycki
Vice-President Finance and Administration

Dalhousie University is located in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi`kmaq. We are all treaty people.  

We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi'kma'ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.

Dal's operating budget at a glance

The operating budget funds the day-to-day operations of the university, accounting for the majority (70%) of the university’s financial activity. The draft operating budget plan for this upcoming fiscal year (2022-23) balances revenues and expenditures at $515.5 million.

Where the money comes from

  • 90% of the budget's operating revenue comes from two sources:
    • Tuition fees, set by the university's Board of Governors: 45.7%
    • Provincial operating grant, set by the provincial government: 44.3%
  • The remaining 10% comes from other various smaller sources, most notably endowment revenue.


Source: 2022-23 Operating Budget

Where the money goes

  • Most of the operating budget (72.4%) is allocated to Faculties and units to deliver on priorities in support of the university's mission and to carry out their day-to-day work.
    • The vast majority of Faculty and unit spending (84.5%) is on compensation for faculty and staff (salaries, benefits and pension payments). Faculty and staff compensation makes up more than 73% of overall university operating expenses.
  • Dalhousie allocates resources similar to its U15 comparators (Canada’s group of leading research‐intensive universities). Dalhousie spends 61.1% of its operating budget in academic areas (Faculties, including Graduate Studies and Continuing Education), compared to the U15 average of 59.9%.


Source: 2022-23 Operating Budget

More about the operating budget

Dal's budget planning process

Dalhousie's operating budget planning process is coordinated through the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) — a group chaired by the Provost with membership from senior leadership, faculty, staff and students.

Through a transparent and consultative process, the BAC is tasked with considering Dalhousie’s varied and diverse priorities and interests and making high-level recommendations for allocations of funding across the university. From there, it is up to leadership in each Faculty or service and support unit to determine how best to allocate resources to deliver on their plans and ensure Dal’s strategic goals are achieved.

The BAC engages with faculty, staff, students and university leadership throughout its planning process. See the full timetable. It produces a draft operating budget plan in the winter term, followed by a final plan in March

The Board of Governors will be voting to approve the budget and tuition and fees in March.

Dal's operating budget planning process is based on four principles:

  • The operating budget is aligned with Dalhousie’s mission and strategic priorities;
  • Recommendations are transparent;
  • The operating budget must be financially sustainable; and
  • The operating budget must be balanced.

Tuition fees

Dalhousie’s success depends on our ability to provide excellent programs and to be competitive nationally and internationally. We strive to keep tuition rates competitive with other Canadian universities while reflecting the high quality of the programs we offer.

Annual tuition increases are necessary to maintain the high quality of our academic programming. Addressing rising costs and investing in university priorities requires resources. With costs increasing at a faster rate than government funding, that leaves tuition — which funds more than 45% of the operating budget — as the only significant means available to balance the operating budget.

How do Dalhousie’s tuition fees compare to other universities?

It varies by program — and where a student is from. Nova Scotia students receive an additional bursary from the Province that lowers their tuition, and Dal's international tuition fees compare very different nationally than domestic tuition. Appendix C of the BAC's draft operating budget plan [PDF] has detailed comparisons of tuition costs between Dal and its peer universities.

International tuition fee increases

Dalhousie’s international undergraduate tuition fees are currently among the lowest of Canada’s U15 group of leading research universities. For Dalhousie to maintain and improve the quality of programs and student support, and to increase the university’s competitiveness nationally and globally, sustainable resources are required.

In April 2019, Dalhousie's Board of Governors approved a four-year plan to increase tuition for nternational students beginning their studies in fall 2019 or later in undergraduate or non-thesis masters programs. These fees increase by $1,473 annually on top of any general fee increases. This upcoming year, 2022-23, will be the last year for these particular increases.

Even with these increases, Dalhousie's international fees remain well below the U15 average. An International Tuition Task Force was established in the fall of 2021 to review and renew Dalhousie’s tuition model for international students. The task force is expected to provide recommendations to the Board for approval in the coming months to be implemented for new students entering in the fall of 2023.

Student financial assistance

Across all university funds (operating, research, endowment, etc.) Dalhousie currently spends nearly $82 million each year on student assistance, including scholarships, bursaries, student employment, research and external funds. 

From the operating budget specifically, Dalhousie spends 7.9% of total operating expenditures on scholarships and bursaries — compared to an average of 5.4% at other U15 universities.

How Dal's spending compares

One way of comparing Dal's allocation of resources to other universities is to look at allocations between three areas that each support the university's academic mission:

  • Direct academic areas (e.g., Faculties, including Graduate Studies and Open Learning and Career
  • Service and support areas (e.g., Library Services, Centre for Teaching & Learning, ITS, IT Infrastructure, Student Assistance)
  • Administration (e.g., Registrar’s Office, Human Resources, Student Accounts, President’s Office)

Compared with other U15 universities, Dalhousie allocates slightly more resources to academic and support areas and less to administration. Other Nova Scotia universities are slightly lower in academic areas, and higher in service and support and administration. Each institution operates differently, which accounts for some variability by institutions.

Faculty/staff compensation

Almost three-quarters of Dalhousie’s operating budget goes to compensation for faculty and staff, and the budget must provide for annual salary, wage and benefit increases as outlined in collective agreements.

The university spends 36.4% of operating expenditures on academic salaries as compared to an average of 32.7% at U15 comparators. In contrast, Dalhousie spends less operating expenditures on non-academic salaries than its comparators.
Just 1.9% of total operating expenditures is spent on senior administrative appointments (individuals reporting to a vice-president, the provost or the president).