STATE GRANTS to third level institutions in Limerick declined by over €14 million from 2007 to 2011, independent analysis has revealed.
The report from Grant Thornton recommends that a change is required if the city’s educational institutions are to survive an increasing strain on their funding circumstances in the future.
Student bodies have increased by one quarter and despite this upward trend, staff numbers have fallen by over eight per cent throughout the same period.
The report reveals that the University of Limerick experienced a fall in funding from €50m in 2007 to €38m in 2011.
LIT’s funding fell by nine per cent during the same period, dropping from €22m to €20m.
Tuition fees are the single biggest income driver to colleges and there was a significant increase at UL where fees accounted for €48m in 2007 compared to €70.8m in 2011.
The income gleaned from tuition fees in LIT increased by a factor of one third in the same period.
The annual operating surplus for third level institutions decreased nationally by almost 60 per cent in the period analysed by the report.
In Limerick, operating surplus at UL fell from €15m in 2007 to €5m. However, LIT bucked the national trend and increased its surplus from a loss of €800,000 in 2007 to over €1.5m in 2011.
The report suggests that colleges cut costs and tap into the growing market of international students in order to continue to grow in the future.