| Executive Director Comment, Funding

Universities are not rolling in gold: Average funding per student and other funding facts

IRU members oppose the Government’s Higher Education package. It does not address the key issue of ensuring needed level of resources for universities while effectively balancing Government investment with student contributions. Students need better resourced universities, not to pay more for less.

The Government case that universities can sustain further reductions in revenue rests on false assertions about the financial robustness of universities and over egged claims about the value of Government funding over the past decade and its additional expenditure over the coming four years.

IRU members assess that they would:

  • lose $43 million a year by 2021 through the cut to CGS funding;
  • have at risk $79 million a year by 2021 through the performance proposal; and
  • have at risk $74 million a year from loss of New Zealander and Permanent Resident students.

The IRU has provided additional analysis to the Senate Education Committee that is considering the impact of the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. The major elements are:

  1. a summary of the IRU members’ financial positions, 2010 to 2015, showing the downward pressure on university surpluses and a shift in expenditure towards renewal of university facilities and resources;
  2. that 61% of the Government’s stated increase in higher education expenditure is for the non HECS parts of HELP. The increase has little relationship to the main Government funding of undergraduate student places, the focus of the HESLA package;
  3. an analysis of the average funding per Commonwealth funding student that challenges the Government assertion that average funding has risen in real terms. The most significant element is the adjustment factor used to create 2017 dollar values, more than any change in the actual funding rates or university enrolment of students; and
  4. a reminder that in England significant increases in student payments have also significantly increased revenue per student.

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