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TEC Says 3% Surplus Not Required This Year

‘The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has written directly to Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs) advising them that they are not required to to achieve a 3% surplus in abnormal situations - and COVID-19 is exactly such a situation.

‘Further, TEC expects institutions to use the full range of financial options available to them in responding to the COVID-19 travel ban, including utilising surpluses builts up in relatively normal years, said Tertiary Education Union National President Michael Gilchrist today. They say that is part of the point of the normal requirement for surpluses.

‘The TEU welcomes recent advice from TEC Chief Executive, Tim Fowler, that a 3% surplus is not an expectation this year and that it is seeking to ensure that any short or medium term financial impacts on tertiary institutions are “managed appropriately”, especially with regard to speculation about potential staff cuts, TEU President Michael Gilchrist said today

‘We are pleased to hear from TEC that they acknowledge all the extra work staff are presently doing in response to the effect on international students, especially Chinese students – and that it is important that TEIs are well placed to respond quickly once travel restrictions are lifted (whenever that may be) – meaning that they should not be looking at cutting staff in response to these difficulties.

‘We think there may be more TEC can do to support institutions financially, including relaxing other financial expectations, and we will be meeting with them to discuss that. We also continue to see a national meeting of all concerned aimed at achieving the maximum possible co-ordination between the parties as a priority – something the TEC says is not ready to do yet.

‘However, we see dropping any requirement to show a 3% surplus as an important first step. It is a very clear indication that institutions have other options for coping with this problem other than cutting staff, Gilchrist concluded.

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