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President: Cambrian’s record $41M surplus marks ‘last good year’

Kristine Morrissey tells the board not to expect more record budget surpluses following changes to government policy restricting international students coming to Canada
Cambrian College President Kristine Morrissey.

Owing largely to an influx of international students, Cambrian College reported a record surplus of $41 million for its 2023-2024 financial year, but the college’s president warns this kind of windfall won’t last.

That’s because of changes to government policy to stem the explosive growth of international students announced earlier this year.

“We've talked a lot about the implications of some of those international changes that were announced in January, and we have fully expected that this is our last good year, right?” said Cambrian president Kristine Morrissey, speaking at the college’s June 6 board of governors meeting.

“It's our highest surplus, I believe, in Cambrian’s history.”

She said $40 million of that surplus will be set aside, earmarking $10 million towards an income stabilization fund and $30 million toward future needs such as deferred maintenance and investment in strategic priorities.

“As we weather the storm over the next couple of years to figure out what our constant international enrolment will end up being, we've got money set aside for those purposes,” Morrissey said.

“So again, we're in a good, strong place. We've got sufficient reserves set aside. We'll navigate the future as it comes. But again, this will likely be the last year of a record surplus.”

Meghan Roy, Cambrian’s director of financial services, said the financial statements audited by the firm KPMG for the financial year ending March 31 “present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position” of the college.

As stated above, Cambrian is ending the financial year with a surplus of $41 million. That’s compared to a surplus of $18 million a year before.

The college had revenue of $277 million in 2024 as opposed to $193 million in 2023. 

Roy said this was mainly due to increased international enrolment both on the college’s Sudbury campus and through its Hanson Canada sites in the GTA.

International student tuition was at $176 million in 2023-2024 as opposed to $107 million the year before.

Domestic student tuition was also up — nearly $15 million as opposed to $14.2 million the year before — but not by the huge factor seen with international tuition.

The college's partnership with Hanson, a private college offering Cambrian programming to international students, is now winding down following changes to government policy.

Roy said Cambrian’s investment income also increased to $9.4 million from $4.6 million the year before “due to high interest rates earned on our deposit accounts.”

Cambrian College’s expenses were at $236 million for the 2023-2024 financial year as opposed to $175 million the year before.

Roy said the “most significant increase is in the international activities line and includes the payments related to enrolment at our private partner.”

Under “international activities,” expenses are listed as being $124 million in 2023-2024, as opposed to $73 million the year before.

In April, Cambrian’s board approved its 2024-2025 budget

The college’s 2024-2025 budget is balanced, with no deficit or surplus, and anticipating both revenues and expenses of just over $125 million, a significant decrease over the 2023-2024 year. This, too, is due to the international student changes.

Projections included in the 2024-2025 budget show the Hanson international student population going from its high in January 2024 of 6,244 down to 1,951 in January 2025.

The Sudbury campus international student population is also expected to decrease, from 3,137 in January 2024 down to 2,003 in January 2025.

Domestic student enrolment is projected to stay the same, standing at 2,797 in January 2024 and the same number in January 2025.

Heidi Ulrichsen is’s assistant editor. She also covers education and the arts scene.

Heidi Ulrichsen

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