Quick Financial Facts

To get you started here are answers to frequently asked questions and sources of USask financial information.

What was the annual revenue and the annual expenses for the institution in the last fiscal year?

  • USask's revenue sources include government grants and contracts, student fees, sales services/products, donations, investment income and other revenue streams. In 2020-21, total comprehensive revenue was $1,127.5 million. 

  • USask's expenditures include salaries and benefits, operations supplies and contracts, travel, utilities, maintenance, rental, renovations and amortizations and other expenses. In 2020-21, total comprehensive expenses were $1,005.7 million.

What are the university’s top three sources of revenue?

  1. Government of Saskatchewan Operating Grant
  2. Student Tuition and Fees ($170.3 million or 15% of total revenue in 2020-21)
  3. Government of Saskatchewan Other Grants and Contracts ($161.2 million or 14% of total revenue in 2020-21) 

What are the top three areas of expenditure?

  1. Salaries and benefits ($593.5 million or 59% of total university expenses in 2020-21)
  2. Operational supplies and expenses ($205.6 million or 20% of total university expenses in 2020-21)
  3. Amortization ($103.0 million or 10% of total university expenses in 2020-21) 
    *amortization refers to spreading payments over multiple periods. The term is used for two separate processes: amortization of loans and amortization of assets. 

What was the total amount spent on faculty and staff salaries last year? And the total cost of annual benefits?

In 2020-21, salaries were $514.9 million and employee benefits were $78.6 million

How much was spent on debt service?

In 2020-21, $11.1 million of long-term debt was repaid and $7.0 million interest on debt was paid.

How much was spent on utilities?

In 2020-21, $23.8 million was incurred in utilities expenses. 

What did the university spend on capital projects in the last fiscal year?

In 2020-21, the purchase of capital assets was $58.9 million.

What did the university spend on maintaining capital assets in the last fiscal year?

In 2020-21, $17.0 million was incurred in maintenance, rental and renovations expense.

What is an endowment?

Records donations received where the donor stipulates that the original contribution will never be spent. A portion of the investment income earned on the endowment is directed to activities identified by the donor – for example, scholarships or research.

What was the size of the endowment at the end of the fiscal year?

On April 30, 2021 endowment fund balance was $459.4 million.

What is student financial aid?

Activities in support of students, including scholarships, bursaries, prizes, emergency loans, etc. 

How much funding was available in student financial aid last year?

In 2020-21, $54.4 million was provided to students as scholarships, bursaries and awards. Additional support was provided to students in the form of salaries and research support.

Sources for USask financial information

Tuition Planning Module

In this module we’ll look at how Tuition Rates are decided, the role of Student Consultation, and the Process and Timelines for setting tuition rates at USask.

Tuition is defined as the dollar amount charged to students in exchange for instruction. Tuition should provide access to basic university-wide services associated with instruction, including:

  • access to rooms and spaces for the set of courses selected: includes classroom and multimedia services;
  • access to assistance and materials: includes instructor, supervisor, lab demonstrators and other teaching support, basic course handouts (syllabus, assignments, examinations, etc.);
  • access to library services: includes basic library services and interlibrary loans;
  • access to computing services: includes email and internet access, applications, and other basic services.

Tuition is one source of revenue that supports the operations of colleges/schools. To be financially sustainable, it is each college/school’s responsibility to balance their operating budget through a combination of revenue growth/diversification and expense management. Tuition increases are one part of the equation to support increasing costs from inflation and collective bargaining agreements.

Setting tuition rates

The Board of Governors is responsible for overseeing and directing all matters respecting the management, administration and control of the university’s property, revenues and financial affairs.

The University of Saskatchewan Act provides the authority for the Board of Governors (“Board”) to approve all tuition and fees. Recognizing that it is not efficient for the Board to approve all tuition and fees, the Tuition and Fees Authorization policy sets out guidelines by which that authority will be delegated. 

From a public policy perspective, tuition is charged in recognition that a university education bestows private benefits as well as public benefits and, therefore, it is reasonable that students pay for at least part of the costs of that education. Nonetheless, it is also recognized that there are considerable public benefits associated with a highly educated populace so it is not reasonable to expect tuition to cover the full costs of the educational mission of the university.

The purpose of the Tuition and Fees Authorization policy is to:

  • Ensure that tuition and fees assessed by the university for its programs and related services are properly authorized and publicized;
  • Ensure that the Board retains the responsibility to set institutional direction regarding tuition and fees;
  • Provide delegation of authority over specified tuition and fee approvals to identified administrative units;
  • Ensure that tuition and fees charged to students are in accordance with Board approved policy;
  • Ensure that students are consulted and that student needs are respected in the process of setting tuition and fees;
  • Describe the types of tuition and fees.
  1. Guiding Principles - The Board is committed to setting tuition rates based on the following principles:

    • Enabling Quality
      Providing high-quality academic programs and student experiences. Quality is regularly assessed through various means, e.g. accreditation standards, academic program reviews, rankings, surveys, student-instructor ratios, quality of learning infrastructure, and graduate outcomes;

    • Affordability and Accessibility
      Ensuring that tuition is set with consideration of the overall financial cost to a student (affordability), e.g. tuition, fees, basic living expenses, books, financial aid, and potential lifetime earnings of graduates, and non-financial barriers to post-secondary education (accessibility), e.g. first generation learners, socioeconomic background, and demographic factors;

    • Comparability
      Ensuring that the cost and quality of academic program offerings are comparable and competitive with other U15 institutions with similar programs, as well as with other regional institutions, as applicable;

    • Predictability
      Providing an indication or forecast of tuition rates over a multi-year period to support longer-term planning and budgeting for students and the university;

    • Transparency Through Consultation 
      Engaging in meaningful and collaborative consultation with students through active participation by deans/executive directors and university administration to ensure common understanding on tuition-related matters.

  2. Memorandum of Understanding - In addition, included in the Saskatchewan Post-Secondary Multi-Year Operating Funding Memorandum of Understanding 2021-22 to 2024-25 is a requirement that:

    • the university overall limit domestic tuition increases to a maximum of 4% in each academic year with exemptions for the following:
      • Tuition for international students
      • Domestic tuition that falls below the peer comparator median
      • Any other required exemptions confirmed among the Parties 

The annual tuition rate-setting process takes place from September to March each year. The process begins with the compilation of comparator data and high-level student consultations.

October Student consultation survey - A new survey will be launched as part of the consultation phase. This survey will gather student input on potential areas for investment and disinvestment around quality of education, the student experience, and supports that are being provided.
November to January  College-level consultation and discussions occur
March

Recommendations for changes to tuition rates are provided by colleges to the Provost for approval.

Public announcements follow shortly thereafter.

The role of students during tuition consultations

Tuition consultation is a process that contributes to a shared understanding of tuition and the tuition rate setting activity at USask. This consultation process includes seeking feedback on the quality of education, the student experience and the supports that are being provided. It is also desirable to hear from students about where incremental investments should be made when new financial resources become available for investment.

Purpose of student consultation

Student Consultation Guiding Principles:

  • Timing and Accessibility – format and timeline of the consultation will be decided in collaboration with students and done with
    • Mindfulness of student schedules (midterms, finals, practicums, etc.);
    • Students’ familiarity with university structures and finances;
    • Consideration of physical accessibility of the location;
    • Public consultations on tuition rates early in the process to ensure the results of the consultation are fully considered by the dean or executive director.

  • Transparency –
    • Consultation offers a holistic picture of the impact that different outcomes have on student services and program offerings;
    • Communications with students be ongoing throughout the year;
    • Allowing opportunity to have follow-up discussion;
    • Written reports on tuition consultation with students be available and accessible.

  • Inclusiveness and Participation 
    • All types of students be invited to participate in the consultations, including domestic, international, Indigenous, etc.
    • Students have a reasonable opportunity to bring forward their questions and concerns;
    • Students understand the principles by which tuition is set;
    • Students have an indication of tuition for the following year;
    • Students engage with the Introduction to Tuition and Financial Information modules and other data as provided to be informed participants;
    • Students have an indication of how their tuition dollars are invested;
    • Deans and executive directors are able to use consultation as a tool to build a positive relationship with students;
    • Deans and executive directors and students are fostering receptiveness and collegiality.

Policy

International differential

Tuition fees are levied differentially to students who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or convention refugees. The differential fee is based on a multiplier or contractual rate of assessed tuition as approved by the Board. Certain exceptions may apply (e.g. Waiver of International Tuition Differential for Native American Students from the United States of America Policy).  

Why comparators matter

A principle of the tuition and fees policy is comparability – ensuring that the cost and quality of academic program offerings are comparable and competitive with other U15 institutions with similar programs, as well as with other regional institutions, as applicable.

In addition, included in the Saskatchewan Post-Secondary Multi-Year Operating Funding Memorandum of Understanding 2021-22 to 2024-25 is a requirement that the university overall limit domestic tuition increases to a maximum of 4% in each academic year with exemptions for the following:

  • Tuition for international students
  • Domestic tuition that falls below the peer comparator median

The importance of tuition comparators has increased because of the MOU exemption.

What were the rates of tuition in the last fiscal year?

Where my tuition dollars go?

100% of centrally collected tuition revenue is allocated to colleges and schools through the Transparent Activity-Based Budget System (TABBS) as one source of revenue used toward supporting the college/school’s operations including academic salaries, administrative support, institutional support, physical plant, etc.

The TABBS model allocates tuition to revenue centres (i.e. colleges/schools) primarily responsible for generating revenue based on their role in supporting their students, supervising their (graduate) students, and their role in providing instruction for courses students have enrolled in.  The distribution of tuition revenue is determined by examining program/course enrolment activity for each student in each term of the fiscal year (May 1 to April 30).

Tuition allocations fall into one of three groups;

  • Enrolment Allocation: which refers to the home college/school of the student (i.e. the college/school that owns the student’s program/area of study)

  • Instruction Allocation: which refers to the home unit(s) of the instructor(s) teaching the class (i.e. the unit(s) involved in paying the instructor’s salary)

  • Supervision Allocation: which refers to the home unit(s) of the instructor that is supervising the graduate student (i.e. the unit(s) involved in paying the supervisor’s salary)

With respect to the percentages of distribution, undergraduate tuition will be allocated based on recognition of enrolment (25% of tuition) and instruction (75% of tuition). Graduate tuition will be allocated based on recognition of enrolment (40%), instruction (20%), and to acknowledge graduate supervision (40%)

Responsibility centre management is a process that empowers our academic and non-academic leaders to manage their own revenues and expenses.

Placing resource decisions closest to the locale where they are put into practice improves both decisions and outcomes. In addition to budgetary authority, responsibility and accountability is also placed at the local level. An appropriate level of central governance and controls ensures ongoing alignment with institution-level values, priorities and fiduciary obligations.

This process best aligns the institution to meet goals set out in the vision, mission, and values and expressed in our institutional plans. Through the resource allocation process, responsibility centre management assigns revenues to the units based on activity metrics. The university retains some funds centrally for flexibility and to reach institutional goals.

More on Resource Allocation

  • Continue to the Planning and Resource Allocation Module (see below)

Planning and Resource Allocation Module

In this module, we’ll look at how the integrated plan impacts resource allocation and budgeting. You’ll also see how the process of resource allocation makes use of the TABBS model and learn the difference between operating, comprehensive, and capital budgets.

Resource Allocation

Integrated planning supports strategic decision-making by providing a comprehensive view of resources and commitments that ensures the alignment of financial and capital resources with academic priorities. Integrated planning is a way for the campus community to set strategic priorities for the university together, while better coordinating the use of resources. USask undertakes planning to show transparency and accountability in its activities.

The integrated planning process and resource allocation (budget planning) go hand in hand, with the former driving the latter. 

Resource allocation is a decision-making process whereby the university’s resources are assigned to responsibility centres (colleges, schools, administrative units). Financial authority over resources is delegated in accordance with the Financial Authority Policy. In moving to a responsibility centre management (RCM) budget model, the university intentionally designs structures, policies, practices, and processes to align resources behind strategic plans, both institutionally, and at the college/unit level. 

The transparent, activity-based budget system (TABBS) is the university's allocation model. The model attributes operating revenues and costs to the units that generate them. This creates a “full-cost” view of revenue-generating operations. The TABBS model data is updated annually to reflect changes in activity levels, tuition revenues and government funding. TABBS does not generate new revenue or costs for the university but provides transparency over the distribution of them.

TABBS is one piece of information used in the annual resource allocation process of revenue centres (colleges/schools). Using activity metrics and cost drivers, TABBS allocates:

  • Unrestricted operating grant
  • Tuition
  • Indirect costs

Each revenue centre is incentivized to grow its share of the unrestricted operating grant through growth in metrics measuring (1) teaching and learning, and (2) research, scholarly and artistic work.

The other primary area that revenue centres can generate more operating revenue is tuition. Colleges and schools can also generate more tuition revenue through enrolment growth.

Strategic funds provide a mechanism for the university to support the strategic mission and goals in support of the university’s core mission. Strategic funds are resourced by centrally collected revenue (primarily provincial operating grant). The purpose of these centrally managed funds is to counterbalance the decentralization inherent in RCM with the need for coordination to achieve institutional priorities. They provide funding on a one-time basis to support specific strategic priorities.

Budgeting

For this topic, we direct you to the USask Finances page. You will get an understanding of the core ideas of an operating budget and what is funded by the operating budget, a comprehensive budget, the process and timelines for budgeting and the concept of multi-year forecasting.

Capital

Operating funds account for the university’s functions of instruction (including academic support services), administrative services, plant maintenance and other operating activities. These funds hold unrestricted resources and funds internally restricted by the university, such as faculty and department carry forwards.

The Capital Fund accounts for the acquisition of capital assets, major renovations and improvements to capital assets.

Recently Completed Capital Projects

Health Sciences

Health Sciences

The A Wing Renovations were the largest final components of the Health Sciences project and were critical to ensuring the achievement of the overall vision and the efficient operation of the Health Sciences facility.


Collaborative Sciences Research Building

Collaborative Sciences Research Building

The Collaborative Science Research Building is a flexible laboratory building which support the life and natural sciences areas.


Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE)

Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE)

The globally-unique LFCE integrate USask, the government (including Western Beef Development Centre, WBDC) and numerous industry organizations in 3 physical facilities, located near Clavet, SK.


Prince Albert Campus

Prince Albert Campus

The University created a campus in Prince Albert which will provide a strong university presence, more accessible to northern communities, which offers programming from the Colleges of Arts & Science, Nursing and Dentistry into a centralized, learning and community-based scholarship centre.


Merlis Belsher Place

Merlis Belsher Place

Merlis Belsher Place is a twin pad ice facility, owned by the university, but serving both student recreation, Huskie Athletics and community needs.

New Capital Projects on the horizon

Renovation projects which will improve our teaching & learning spaces

  • Arts Building (Lecture Theatres 143 and 146 and Classroom 263)
  • Physics Building (Wing 21)
  • WP. Thompson Building (Comprehensive Renewal)

Projects which support research excellence

  • VIDO – Vaccine Manufacturing Facility
  • Canadian Agricultural Centre for Engineering Biology (CACEB) Equipment to support Engineering Biology
  • Crop Development Centre Expansion & Renovation to support Enhanced Breeding & Genomics Selection
  • IntegrOmes (Integrated Genomics for Sustainable Animal Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship) Program to establish on-campus genomics platform with bioinfomatic capabilities
  • Murray Building (5th floor renovation for Archival space)

Projects which support USask’s core physical infrastructure

  • Replacement of Chiller #1 to ensure adequate cooling capacity
  • Electrical Infrastructure upgrades
  • Implementation of Electronic Door Access Controls (Phase 1)
  • Optimizing Energy Efficiency in USask Buildings (Recommissioning of buildings)
  • Thorvaldson Building – selective mechanical, electrical and controls upgrades
  • Arts Building - selective mechanical, electrical and structural upgrades
  • Physics Building (Wing 21) – selective safety, mechanical, electrical and architectural upgrades