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The University of Otago was not alone in having declining student numbers last year, with enrolments taking a hit at all but one of New Zealand's universities.
A comparison of the annual reports of New Zealand's eight universities tabled at Otago University's council meeting yesterday showed, on average, equivalent full-time student (EFTs) numbers fell 2.4% in 2011. Only Lincoln University had an increase in enrolments.
Otago University, with a drop in student numbers of 1.8%, was far from the worst affected, with student numbers at quake-affected Canterbury University dropping by 13.5%.
Otago University chief operating officer John Patrick told the council meeting it was the "first time" he had seen a sector-wide decline in EFTs.
Financial results were "fairly similar" among most of the universities. Lincoln University was the only one to record a deficit, and Canterbury University, which had been affected by the earthquakes.
One area where Otago University had performed best was operating cashflow per student which, excluding money from trusts, was at $4388.
This was to be expected as the university, like Auckland University which was second at $4039 per student, taught comparatively "expensive courses" such as medicine.
Mr Patrick said he did not have "any concerns" about the figures, which showed the university was on a "good financial track".