6 Apr 2022

University of Auckland experiences record enrolments, multi-million surplus

7:14 am on 6 April 2022

The University of Auckland enrolled a record number of students and made a multi-million-dollar surplus last year, despite the pandemic.

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The university's 2021 annual report showed it made a surplus of $133 million and enrolled 36,748 students, 2500 more than it had before the pandemic.

That included 5391 foreign students, 500 more than in 2020, and just 63 fewer than it had before the pandemic in 2019.

The report said 30 percent of the international students were studying remotely from overseas, many of them at learning centres in China and Vietnam.

The university told RNZ it had been forecasting a positive result since the enrolment increase became apparent early last year.

"The whole tertiary sector experienced extraordinary demand from domestic students - for example those that might otherwise have chosen to study overseas, mature [students] and professionals looking to add to their qualifications," it said

The university said it also successfully retained a lot of international students, with many choosing to study remotely from off-shore.

"Overall, UoA's students hit a record high in 2021. The associated fee and grant income is the main factor influencing the result," the university said.

The university said the good result did not mean its $44m voluntary severance process in 2020 had been unnecessary.

"The factors behind the 2021 surplus are not likely to repeat: there is softening in demand from domestic students, and with current border and immigration settings we expect international numbers to decline," it said.

"The period ahead remains challenging, particularly when the effects of increasing inflation is considered."

The university said it was budgeting a 1.4 percent operating surplus in 2022.

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