Otago Polytechnic predicts student numbers will increase
by 5% next year, as the institution continues to buck a trend
of falling enrolments and cuts at polytechnics around the
The increase is predicted in Otago Polytechnic's 2013 budget,
which was given to the Otago Daily Times this week after it
was approved in the closed section of last month's council
meeting. The budget forecasts equivalent full-time student
(EFTS) numbers will reach 3945 next year, an increase of 5%
on the 3765 enrolled this year.
If the forecast proves correct, it would mean two consecutive
years of growth in student numbers at the polytechnic.
Numbers increased 4.2% this year.
This comes against a backdrop of falling student numbers
nationally. Figures released by Statistics New Zealand last
week showed that numbers enrolling in universities and
polytechnics dropped 7.4% last year.
Otago Polytechnic chief operating officer Philip Cullen said
the growth in student numbers next year would largely be
unfunded by the Government and instead be paid for from
The polytechnic could sustain having 5% of its EFTS unfunded
by the Government, because the extra provision would not
result in an increase of ''fixed cost structures'', Mr Cullen
The budget forecasted revenue to grow from $84.764 million
this year to $90.552 million next year. Expenditure was
expected to increase from $76.955 million to $82.530 million.
This would make for an operating surplus of $3.103 million
next year, up from $3.097 million this year.
''We have targeted a surplus which can be achieved but are
still mindful of growing the bank balance and balance sheet
robustness,'' he said.
Mr Cullen said the polytechnic's good performance was due to
a number of reasons, including a growing level of applied
degree provision, top-of-sector educational achievement and
an increasing focus on innovation, research and enterprise.
''The budget continues the long-term strategy to achieve
efficiencies in delivery, real need to our communities and to
improve quality and market place standing,'' he said.
The fact the polytechnic was continuing to grow meant there
had been ''minimal'' cuts, he said.
One area where there had been cutbacks was in the
polytechnic's community learning centres.
''We have continued to downsize or close community learning
centres, due to a reduction in activity and viability,'' he