Student numbers at the University of Otago have taken another
hit, with total enrolments for the year now expected to be
1.9% down on last year.
The latest prediction of student numbers is outlined in the
University of Otago's 2012 forecast, which was tabled at the
university council meeting yesterday.
The forecast predicted a total of 18,981 equivalent full-time
student (EFTS) enrolments this year, down 1.9% on the 19,344
enrolled last year and lower than its previous forecast of
Financial services director Grant McKenzie said in the
forecast given the late stage in the year the final number of
enrolments would likely be only a few EFTS from the forecast.
The key factors driving down domestic student numbers were a
smaller commencing cohort last year and the "one-off impact"
which came with a tougher academic progress policy taking
effect, he said.
The proposed budget for 2013 predicts the enrolments
environment will stay flat next year, with a slight increase
in domestic full-time students from 17,426 EFTS forecast this
year to 17,638 next year.
Full-fee paying international EFTS are forecast to fall for
the second consecutive year from 1555 predicted this year to
1487 next year.
At yesterday's council meeting, vice-chancellor Prof Harlene
Hayne and chancellor John Ward, both brought up positive
interest in residential colleges as a reason to be hopeful
that domestic student numbers would improve next year. Mr
Ward also said there would be a positive flow-on effect from
higher first-year numbers this year.
The forecast also predicted an operating surplus of $13.541
million, which would mean the university had failed to meet
the Tertiary Education Commission's (TEC) targets for a 3%
return on revenue and a 1.2% return on equity. The predicted
surplus equated to a 2.3% return on revenue and a 1.1% return
Mr McKenzie said at yesterday's council meeting the failure
to meet the TEC guideline for return on revenue was partly
because of the academic division's use of previous savings,