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March 18, 2013 | by  | in News |
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Universities spend large on advertising

Victoria University spent over $2.8 million on domestic advertising last year according to figures recently released to Salient, prompting questions regarding the value of this spending to a University with an already-full roll book. 

The data, released by New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) and compiled by ACNielson, details the advertising spending of every tertiary education institution in New Zealand.

Student enrolments were effectively capped in 2008, after Government changes to funding criteria meant only a certain number of students were funded at each institution. In 2010, over 1500 domestic undergraduate applicants were shut out by Victoria’s cap.

Victoria’s total spend in 2012 was $2,870,521—$170.15 per student. Of this total, $1,088,159 (39.7 per cent) was spent on television, $844,178 (29.4 per cent) on outdoor mediums, and $674,041 (23.5 per cent) on newspaper advertising. The remaining 7.4 per cent was split between radio, online and magazine advertising, in that order.

VUWSA President Rory McCourt is not surprised by the figures, and blames the current funding structure.

“These latest figures are hardly surprising, given the competitive model we have in New Zealand where each university boasts of its worth through TV, radio and newspaper ads, while its current students are desperate for tutorials and a decent lecture theatre,” he told Salient.

“These are dollars which could have been going into providing tutes for 300-level courses, or even a cut in our fees.”

Of the universities, Lincoln University had the highest per student spend in 2012 at $527.23 for each of its 3483 students; a total spend of $1,802,629. Lincoln is expected to post a deficit later this year.

Most economical was the University of Auckland, spending $42.97 for each of its 32,193 students.

Of all New Zealand universities, the University of Canterbury (UC) spent the highest total amount: $3,374,071. Despite this spending, UC have still not met their target enrolments and enrolment numbers continue to decrease.

Their high spending comes in a year in which UC recorded a $67 million deficit, prompting a Government bailout likely to take place in 2013.

The total combined figure from all tertiary institutions is $37,340,596. The data do not include advertisements for staff.

Salient will provide further breakdown of these expenditures and seek comment from Victoria University next week.

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