Uni finances improve due to building delays, enrolments

The Otago University Students' Association has disaffiliated with the Elohim Bible Academy. Photo...
Photo: ODT files
The University of Otago's finances are in good shape due to extra enrolments in the first semester and delays to building work, its latest financial report says.

The building projects include a new multimillion-dollar music and performing arts facility.

A report prepared for Tuesday's university council meeting said the operating surplus for the first five months was $5.8million higher than the budgeted $110.9million.

The primary reasons for the rise were "higher enrolment numbers than budgeted", and cash balances from delayed capital projects.

In March, the university reported 322 equivalent full-time students (EFTS) more than the same time last year.

Enrolments were expected to climb by a further 1100 EFTS by the end of 2018. However, updated enrolment numbers will not be available until later in the semester.

Projects that had experienced delays included the $26million music and theatre complex, which will be situated beside the Robertson Library in Union St East.

A university spokeswoman said tenders had been evaluated, and a recommendation for the award of a building contract was being completed.

The original timeframe for completion of the building was the middle of next year, but it was now expected to be complete by the end of 2019.

The university was left with $189.6million cash on hand at the end of May, $71million more than budget.

Income from student fees totalling $10.3million due to increased enrolments and ``earlier receipts due to the fees free scheme'', was one of the factors which made up the difference, the report said.

A spokeswoman said 3455 students were enrolled on the Government's fees-free scheme. However its effect on enrolments was still relatively unknown.


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