Unitec Institute of Technology today published its 2017 Annual Report. The institute now carries no debt following the sale of surplus land at its Mt Albert campus, but declining EFTS (Equivalent Full Time Students) across the sector have continued to impact the bottom line.
Interim Chief Executive, Alastair Carruthers CNZM said a deficit of $20.2m had been budgeted for the year as Unitec completed the final phase of a significant transformation project. However, a 7.2% decline in EFTS, which reduced revenue by $16.6m, could only be partially offset by cost savings, extending the total deficit to $30.7m.
In August, Unitec opened two new buildings, a student hub and library, and a trades training facility, at a combined cost of $70m. The sale of 29-hectares of surplus land at the Mt Albert campus provided funding for the buildings plus additional costs associated with the organisation’s transformation. Following completion of the land sale in April 2018, Unitec is entirely debt-free.
It remains the country’s largest ITP with 8442 EFTS in 2017, but Mr Carruthers said Unitec needed to respond more rapidly to the shifting landscape.
“We have fantastic new facilities in place and expect considerably less disruption for staff and students now the bulk of our transformation project is complete,” Mr Carruthers said.
“The last two years have put significant strain on the sector as a number of factors, in particular the booming job market and high cost of living in Auckland, have pushed people into work over study. We have also seen a shift to more part-time study as our student headcount has remained relatively stable. Effectively this means we are receiving less revenue per-student.
“Our priority is to deliver student success. We have already taken steps to reduce costs and target areas where revenue can be increased, such as identifying programmes where demand exceeds our current capacity. We are committed to continuing this work until we achieve an operating model which returns a surplus.”
A copy of the full Annual Report can be found here.