Domestic student roll up

Increasing domestic student numbers and a $16.1 million surplus were dampened by another year of declining numbers of international students, the University of Otago council meeting heard this week.

University chief financial officer Sharon van Turnhout presented the university's financial performance result for 2014 to the council, showing an overall decrease in equivalent full-time students (Efts) despite an increase in domestic students for the first time since 2010.

Overall, Efts declined by 30, although domestic student numbers rose by 18 Efts, Ms van Turnhout said.

The decline in student numbers meant about $1.2 million in student achievement component (Sac) funding had to be returned to the Government.

Lower tuition fee income and the reduction in Sac funding were largely offset by cost savings, Ms van Turnhout said.

The university still returned a surplus of $16.143 million for the year, although a surplus of $20.597 million was budgeted.

A $2.74 million increase in the valuation of long-term employee benefits and a $1.32 million downwards valuation of Pacific Edge shares accounted for much of the difference.

Considering the fiscal pressures the university was facing, the result was pleasing, Ms van Turnhout told the council.

''It's a great credit to the university that they have managed to receive extra income to offset the reduction in Sac funding and the reduction in tuition fees.''

The university's finances were in a ''very good place''.

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