Waterford Institute of Technology is in a ‘vulnerable financial position’ following severe funding cuts over the last four years, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee was told last week.
WIT was one of five third level institutions about which concerns were expressed. Chief executive of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Tom Boland said WIT, Dundalk IT, Letterkenny IT and Galway Mayo IT, as well as the National College of Art and Design were all in financial difficulty ‘to varying degrees’, though none are in danger of immediate collapse.
However, Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy told the PAC that some institutions had indicated they have deficits that could potentially affect their ability to operate in the future.
Mr Boland acknowledged that the financial difficulties, to some extent, reflected funding cuts within the higher-education sector. WIT’s recurrent funding was cut from €41,569,336 in 2010 to €31,496, 432 in 2014.
A statement from WIT said the Institute was ‘working closely with the HEA to develop a plan for recovery over a two year period’.
“Educational institutions have suffered severe cuts in the last four years”, the statement continued. “Against this shortfall of funding WIT continues to deliver on meeting the educational and economic requirements of the region.”
Last month, WIT and Carlow IT agreed to enter a ‘preliminary engagement process’ to get the bid for a technological university in the south east back on track.
New WIT president Professor Willie Donnelly has said there is a ‘need to address the issues of mutual trust and respect’ before the talks can proceed.