Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Third Level Institutions
645. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of institutes of technology or technological universities currently running a deficit in tabular form; the plans in place by each institute to address the deficit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15643/20]
The latest set of audited accounts available for the IoT/technological sector is the 17/18 financial year. It should be noted by the Deputy that the audited accounts of each publically funded Higher Education Institution are available publically on the Oireachtas website. The accounts of two IOT's, IT Tralee and Waterford IT respectively indicated an accumulated deficit position.
IT Tralee-The 2017/18 accounts for IT Tralee show a deficit of €1.3m and the C&AG noted that the Institute has incurred deficits in each of the last six years and they had an accumulated revenue deficit of €4.3m at 31 August 2018.
In 2019, €5m of emergency funding was provided to IT Tralee with the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills. The Governing Body of IT Tralee was requested by the HEA and the Department of Education and Skills to develop, complete and approve a financial sustainability plan. A plan was submitted and reviewed by the HEA which includes actions to reduce the Institute’s cost base and increase its income. This plan was submitted to the Department of Education and Skills in April 2020, and is currently being considered by the Department. It should be noted that the Covid-19 pandemic will bring additional challenges to IT Tralee with the expected loss of international student fees and additional costs.
WIT- The 2017/18 accounts for Waterford IT show a surplus of €0.11m for year ended 31st August 2018 and the C&AG noted that the Institute had an accumulated revenue deficit of €6.3m.
WIT has received a loan from the Department of Education and Skills which arose from a recommendation included in the report following the investigation by a statutory inspector on the relationship between the Institute and the companies providing campus services to it. The loan, which amounted to €12.1m, is repayable over a period of twelve years and is interest free. The loan drawdown commenced in February 2014 and the balance outstanding at 31 August 2018 was €9.03m.
WIT has agreed a financial plan with the HEA to bring WIT back into a breakeven position, which includes new programme development linked to industry engagement, recruitment strategy to increase the student base and the implementation of a plan to address retention weaknesses. The HEA agreed a revised monitoring mechanism in 2019 and has been engaging closely with WIT to ensure the institute returns to at least a breakeven position.