Review of Dalhousie University Finances: the update

Are budget decisions serving the university’s mission?

In March 2013,  the Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) released an analysis of Dalhousie’s audited financial statements showing that the proportion of the university’s operating budget devoted to teaching, research and libraries had declined significantly  over a 10-year period, while the proportion allocated to administration had increased.  The study also showed that millions of dollars had been diverted from Dalhousie’s operating budget to fund new building construction.   Chart GOOD

During the summer and fall of 2015, the DFA updated its analysis to reflect the university’s financial statements for the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years and the situation has worsened.  We discovered that:

  • The percentage of Dalhousie’s operating budget spent on academic activities continues to decline, from 73.5 per cent in 2002-03 to 63.5 per cent in 2011-12 to just under 61.9 per cent in 2014-15.
  • At the same time, the percentage of the operating budget spent on “administration and general” is going up.  It was 7.3 per cent in 2002-03, 8.4 per cent in 2011-12 and over 8.6 per cent in 2014-15.
  • In the past three years alone, more than $83 million has been transferred out of Dalhousie’s operating fund, with virtually all that money going into capital expenses.  The total amount transferred out of the operating fund since 2002-03 is a $168.5 million.
  • While consecutive university budgets have imposed cuts to academic programs based on predicted  shortfalls, the financial statements have actually shown operating surpluses year after year.

Click here to download the update to the Review of Dalhousie University Finances

Click here for detailed information and a video about the 2013 Review of Dalhousie University Finances

Click on the image below to download a .pdf of our brochure, Making choices: How Dalhousie spends its money…and why it matters

Financial review brochure cover

Click on the image below to read DFA President David Mensink’s article in Halifax Metro, March 3, 2016 (Downloaded text version)

Metro op-ed scanned small for web banner

Click here to hear the podcast of DFA Executive Committee member Darren Abramson’s interview with CBC Radio Information Morning, March 4, 2016