Otago Uni offer staff voluntary redundancy amid financial woes

Source: 1News

The University of Otago is offering staff voluntary redundancy as it battles with the loss of international students since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Nicholson said that while the University was not facing any immediate financial crisis, the financial outlook beyond 2021 was challenging.

Nicholson said the University was currently losing $15 million a year due to the lack of international students, which looks set to continue through 2022.

“We now know that rebuilding the international student cohort is unlikely to begin until 2023 and it could then take up to 10 years for student numbers to recover," Nicholson said in a press release.

The university says a revenue from a rise in domestic student enrolments would not be enough to offset this and other financial pressures.

“Our income isn’t keeping pace with our expenditure. The reality is that funding and fee revenue we receive for each domestic student we enrol is not keeping pace with inflation, or with rising salary, operational and compliance costs.”

Professor Nicholson said the process will not impact on the ability of students to complete the programmes in which they were currently enrolled, or which they commence in 2022.

All permanent staff members, academic and professional, will be eligible to express their interest in voluntary redundancy.