The University of Auckland enrolled a record number of students and made a multi-million-dollar surplus last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its 2021 annual report.
You might not have seen it while on Zoom at home, but Waipapa Taumata Rau enrolled a historic 36,748 students in 2021, 2500 more than it had before the pandemic in 2019. This figure includes 5391 international students, 500 more than they had in 2020 and only 63 less than pre-COVID.
According to the University, the tertiary sector overall experienced high demand from domestic students during the pandemic, who were unable to study overseas because of border restrictions. UoA was also able to retain some of its existing international students, despite 30% of UoA’s international student population studying offshore in 2021, many at learning centres in China and Vietnam.
The annual report shows the University made a surplus of roughly $133 million in 2021. This is despite spending $44 million on voluntary redundancies involving about 300 staff. The University has said that its high domestic student numbers in 2021 did not make up for the financial impact of losing hundreds of international students.
Record high student numbers are not likely to repeat in 2022. UoA, AUT, Waikato, Massey, Victoria, and Canterbury universities have all reported that both domestic and international student enrolments have seen a decline compared to this time last year.
Tertiary Education Union president Tina Smith also said that domestic enrolments are down around 10% across universities and polytechnics this year.