Canterbury University is pleading for at least another $150 million from the Government as it faces losing almost 20,000 students and $346m in revenue in the next eight years. Based on a report they’ve prepared along with Deloitte which forecasts a cumulative drop in fulltime equivalent students of 19,400 from this year to 2019 and a reduction in revenue over that time of $346m
A 65-page document detailing the business case for support asks the Government for $130m in operating support, $25m for capital costs and a yet-to-be-determined sum for building remediation not covered by insurance, but the amount could be between $20m and $70m.
The February earthquake caused it to lose hundreds of domestic and international students - About 15,500 fulltime equivalent students are enrolled at the university.
It already has 1200 fewer domestic students and 420 international students than 2010. Of those about 800 were first-year students and 80 per cent of them would have continued to a second year of study. More than 25 per cent of the first-year student intake either discontinued or did not complete their enrolment this year.
Here’s the thing - the university is therefore asking for $1,000 per student to prevent it’s decline in standards, 1,600 less students is extrapolated over 8 years to be 20,000 students. Somehow. As a concession the university will shed around 300 jobs over 3 years from the 3,000 staff it currently has, that’s 3-4% a year over 3 years.
Each Student, using the figures provided, generate income to the University of $18,200 each, per student, and they have staff to student ratio of 1-5
“In exchange for the government money, the university was proposing to make savings of $134m, double its borrowings to $100m, and reduce its capital expenditure by $20m to $45m annually from next year to 2019. The savings would include a 3 to 4 per cent reduction in staff numbers for each of the next three years. The university has about 3000 staff.”
The university has a good reputation and it has a strong balance sheet with about $90m in the bank. It’s not up against any wall and it’s not sinking into oblivion.
So – change the name from ABC university to ABC corporation – and you’ll see why this isn’t really something that I would be in favour of. The user pays education system that we’re all familiar with appears to not want to cut it’s cloth to suit, but wants to have a Rolls Royce facility. I can’t imagine a scenario where a corporation with the same staffing ratio’s would be able to go cap in had to the Govt and ask for a bail-out. (Of course I ignore finance and insurance companies, of course!)
Am I in favour of reducing the scope of the offering to suit the amount of revenue, you bet I am. Should the taxpayer fund what is essentially a corporation into maintaining what is an impossible scenario – even they recognise some truths “ The university had started many initiatives to attract students, including increasing recreational areas on site. It was also spending millions of dollars
on additional scholarships. Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr was visiting several countries to get the message across to potential international students that the university was fully open
and safe after the earthquakes “
So spend a few more millions, after all in for 346million in for the lot! I’m confident the world will not end for the University, I’m sure that student X overseas does not want to come to a city of rubble to live, in over-priced short availability accommodation, unless of course they’re on a scholarship, but that’s not generating income is it, that’s filling seats to tick a box to maintain existing funding for the public purse.
Do I think that there are too many staff? what do you think, in a normal corporation I would imagine that a ratio of 1-10 managers to staff is more normal, it’s possibly even more.
I’m therefore a little perplexed by the timing, the amount they are asking for, the reasons given, and the blind way in which it ignores some truths about their plight and situation.