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UC faces budget challenge with determination

UC faces budget challenge with determination

The University of Canterbury Council has approved its 2012 budget, signalling a deficit for the coming year. Bondholder payments will not be affected.

The budget anticipates a loss of $17.4 million from business as usual and a loss of $11.4 million after earthquake insurance proceeds for reduced revenue, estimated at $6 million. This compares to a 2011 business as usual forecast surplus of $3 million.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr said that as a result of a downturn in both domestic and full fee paying students, due to the earthquakes, the University was unable to prepare a balanced budget.
“UC will face a challenge with enrolments in 2012 and possibly beyond. However, there are a number of encouraging signs. We are receiving a good level of inquiries, our scholarships are attracting interest, and our independent halls are full. Applications are arriving daily and will be submitted up to our deadline for first year students on 10 December 2011. However, the overall financial impact will not be clear until mid March 2012.”

The forecasted deficit reflects a decline in total operating income of $8 million from the 2011 forecast. This is in part due to a $5 million decline in student tuition fees from the 2011 forecast. Total operating expenditure is $12 million ahead of the 2011 forecast. This includes an increase in insurance costs from $2.5 million to $6.2 million, and an increase in energy costs by $1.8 million.

The forecast on which the budget is set will be tested and refined during 2012 as student enrolments are confirmed.

Dr Carr acknowledged the forecast loss did not satisfy the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) 3% surplus criteria. “We are in constant communication with TEC including discussing changes to the covenants which will be required as we work through our recovery plan.

“This is a challenging budget for UC. We are working hard to attract students back to Christchurch and are determined to continue to find ways of living within our means, without adversely impacting the quality of teaching and research we offer.”

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