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Open Polytechnic Funding Agreed

13 September 2004

Media Release: Immediate

Open Polytechnic Funding Agreed

One of New Zealand's largest and fast-growing tertiary institutions (TEIs) has agreed a funding arrangement to enable it to meet the Government's managing growth policy for enrolments.

The agreement between national distance learning provider The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) will allow the Polytechnic to exceed the Government's funding cap in 2004 and 2005 and manage its way back within the cap over the subsequent two years.

The managing growth policy was introduced in June 2003 and was implemented as from the beginning of this year. It retrospectively calculated the funding cap for TEI's based on 2002 equivalent full-time students (EFTS).

The Open Polytechnic's enrolments grew rapidly last year due to its new LifeWorks programme proposed in 2002 and launched in February 2003 before the announcement of the funding policy. This resulted in the need for an agreed variation to the funding cap.

The new agreement will allow the Polytechnic to manage its EFTS to meet the requirements of the policy.

Open Polytechnic Chief Executive Paul Grimwood said the agreement was a positive outcome for all parties.

"We understand and support the intent behind the managing growth policy and are committed to operating within its parameters. We prepared for the launch of LifeWorks throughout 2002 and signalled the projected growth at the end of that year. The timing of the policy announcement in mid-2003 and the retrospective basis for calculating allowable EFTS created unintended consequences for us.

"We were confident that a transitional arrangement could be put in place that both recognised our exceptional situation and met the requirements of Government policy. That is what we have now achieved with the TEC."


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