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Financial information of community colleges and vocational schools, 2015/2016

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Released: 2018-01-15

Canada's 179 public colleges spent $8.6 billion in 2015/2016, unchanged from 2014/2015. Revenues increased from $8.6 billion in 2014/2015 to $8.7 billion in 2015/2016.

Government funding is the largest source of revenue

The two main sources of revenues for public colleges in 2015/2016 were provincial governments (61%) and student fees (26%). The remaining funding came from other sources, including ancillary enterprise (5.5%), the federal government (1.6%), donations (1.3%) and other miscellaneous sources. In 2015/2016, colleges received a small proportion of their funding from the federal government, accounting for $137.1 million. The distribution of funding sources for public colleges is very different from that of universities. For example, provincial government funds accounted for 39% of revenues for universities, while federal government funds accounted for 9% of revenues during the same time period.

The proportion of college revenues from provincial governments is declining. In 2010/2011, provincial funding accounted for 65.2% of college revenues, or $5.4 billion in spending. In 2015/2016, it represented 60.7% of college revenues, or $5.3 billion in spending.

Student fees account for a growing portion of revenue

While revenues from provincial governments have been declining, college revenues from tuition and fees have been increasing. Institutions received $2.2 billion in revenue from fees in 2015/2016, up from $2.1 billion in 2014/2015. Revenue from fees increased 30.9% over a five-year period, from $1.7 billion in 2010/2011 to $2.2 billion in 2015/2016. As a result, the proportion of revenues from tuition fees grew from 20.6% in 2010/2011 to 25.8% in 2015/2016. A similar increase in the importance of tuition fees as a source of revenue was also observed for universities over the same period.

Sponsored research in colleges is a smaller proportion of total revenues compared to universities

Funds to support sponsored research are revenues that are earmarked solely for research. In colleges, revenues for sponsored research made up less than 1% of total revenue in 2015/2016. In contrast, sponsored research in universities accounted for 19.9% of total revenue in 2015/2016.

The largest share of expenditures goes towards salaries and benefits

The largest proportion of colleges' expenditures (64%) was for staff compensation (salaries and benefits), accounting for $5.5 billion in 2015/2016, similar to 2014/2015 levels. However, from 2010/2011 to 2015/2016, total compensation increased as a proportion of total expenditures from 59% to 64%. The increase in compensation was mainly due to employee benefits (e.g., the institution's contribution to pensions, group life insurance, and workmen's compensation; also included here may be staff development costs paid for by the institution), the value of which increased by 17% over this same period.

Capital spending remains stable as a percentage of expenditures

Net capital expenditures by colleges increased slightly, from $737.5 million in 2014/2015 to $751.6 million in 2015/2016, and accounted for 8.7% of total expenditures. Capital expenditures cover investment in property, building, renovations, and equipment.

  Note to readers

In the Financial Information of Community Colleges and Vocational Schools Survey, colleges refer to colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics.

Revenue and expenditure data are collected from each college and are distributed by fund in accordance with the fund accounting. The main funds are: general operating (an unrestricted fund that accounts for the institution's primary activities of instruction), sponsored research, and capital.

All of the financial figures are in constant dollars (adjusted for inflation).

Financial data for universities are available from the survey on financial information of universities and degree-granting colleges, and were released in The Daily on July 13, 2017.

Contact information

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