Polytechnic roll up nearly 400

Otago Polytechnic. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Otago Polytechnic. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Otago Polytechnic is still bucking the trend of declining enrolments in the sector, with nearly 400 students more than expected enrolled for the second semester - but is waiting to hear whether its funding allocation will be increased.

A report prepared for a polytechnic council meeting today said enrolments were 4939, compared to the the estimate in the budget of 4573.

The Tertiary Education Commission was meeting the polytechnic this week to negotiate funding for the next year.

The total roll for the second semester was due to be at least 106% of the expected target, but deputy chief executive for corporate services Phil Cullen said it could climb as high as 108% or 109%.

How much funding the polytechnic would receive for the extra students depended on the performance of the rest of the sector and whether other polytechnics were meeting their allocations, he said.

"We believe that there are two or three that are like us, but then there's others that are lagging behind."

The polytechnic's report for the financial year to May 31 said the institution was in a financially healthy position.

Net assets were $8million higher than budget, with strong revenue from student fees, and the sale of City College, combined with lower outflows and the conversion of other working capital items to cash.

Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker said the numbers were "extremely strong", and he believed the polytechnic had not been affected by the downturn in the rest of the sector because a "significant proportion" of enrolments were from people already in jobs.

In times when the economy was strong, there was usually a decline in enrolments as people opted to take jobs rather than go back to gain more qualifications, he said.

Otago Polytechnic's enrolments were up by 8.2% at the start of this year, but the fees-free scheme did not have the expected effect because of the timing of enrolments.

Mr Cullen said the polytechnic had a "historical pattern of overachieving" over the past few years.

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