SIT soon to see if revised funding official

KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012

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The Southern Institute of Technology will find out in coming weeks whether it will retain similar levels of funding as this year.

Chief executive Penny Simmonds yesterday said while earlier indications were that the polytechnic would lose $500,000 in Government funding, that figure had been revised.

A new indicative funding allocation would be considered by the Tertiary Education Commission board, with about $595,000 in additional funding proposed, she said.

This is the first year some of the funding had been made contestable, with $12.2m awarded to the private training organisation sector, which "took quite a chunk out", Ms Simmonds said.

The polytechnic had received about $28 million in Government funding this year and, if the revised indicative funding proposal was accepted, it would receive a similar amount next year, Ms Simmonds said.

She believed SIT was one of only three tertiary institutions in the country that could receive the same, or slightly more, funding as this year.

Others were facing significant funding cuts and were looking at redundancies and course cancellations to cope with their reduced budgets.

Protests against the funding cuts were being held at some institutes around the country yesterday.

Ms Simmonds believed the funding levels had been revised as SIT had a strong focus on trades, which was where the Government wanted to see an emphasis, and because the polytech always achieved more than the 100 per cent allocation.

Polytechs are required to stay within 97 per cent and 103 per cent of their government-funded equivalent fulltime students target. If they went below or above, they were penalised.

This cap was introduced by the Tertiary Education Commission in 2007.

Had the initial indicative funding allocation, a $500,000 loss, gone through, the polytech would have had to reassess expenditure, Ms Simmonds said.

She expected the Tertiary Education Commission board to have confirmed next year's funding levels in two weeks.

The commission did not respond before deadline.

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- The Southland Times

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