Wednesday, 6 July 2016
Department of Education and Skills
Institutes of Technology
104. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his short-term and medium-term plans for the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, given the latest figures confirming that it carried a budget deficit of €2.46 million during the 2014-15 financial year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20015/16]
105. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the reserves he refers to when he states the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology has reserves which can be used to meet its deficit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20016/16]
107. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he has restored core funding to the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in Castlebar, County Mayo; if not, his plans to do so in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20018/16]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 to 107, inclusive, together.
My Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to the HEA designated higher education institutions, including Institutes such as Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). The HEA allocates this funding to the institutions and the internal disbursement of funding is then a matter for the individual institution.
GMIT is entitled to core funding in the same manner as any institute of technology. Core funding is driven primarily by student numbers, either via a free fees contribution or the Recurrent Grant Allocation Model (RGAM) which is the mechanism used by the HEA to allocation funding. The HEA has no scope to allocate additional funding to any higher education institute beyond that level derived from the free fees and RGAM allocations. A review of the approach to funding higher education institutions is to be undertaken by the HEA later in 2016 and this will consider whether additional considerations need to be taken into account within the funding model, such as regional role or contribution or the operation of multiple campuses.
As the Deputy is aware, GMIT has reported an operating deficit of €2.463m in their 2014/15 draft financial accounts. The current reserves held by GMIT total €5.6m but this has been significantly depleted by the deficit noted for 2014/15.
The HEA are closely monitoring the financial position of all of the IoTs and in particular are working closely with those operating in deficit, including GMIT, to ensure appropriate mechanisms are put in place to eliminate the deficit as quickly as possible.
In particular, the HEA has a policy framework in place for engaging with vulnerable IoTs like GMIT, which requires institutes to submit a three year plan to return them to a balanced budget situation. GMIT has presented the HEA with their three year plan which shows a gradual decreasing of the deficit in 2015/16 and 2016/17 with a return to surplus projected in 2017/18. The plan makes it clear that this will be dependent on a successful retention strategy, reductions in staffing and new programme development to increase student demand. The HEA will continue to monitor the position and work with GMIT to address the deficit issue.