Losses at private colleges reach NT$2.97 billion

The Ministry of Education has urged private schools to reduce the scope of their operations and focus on sustainability amid growing losses

  • By Wu Po-hsuan, Rachel Lin and William Hetherington / Staff Journalists, with a Staff Writer

Forty-four private colleges and universities nationwide suffered a combined loss of NT$2.97 billion ($98.93 million) in the 2020-21 academic year, due to low enrollment caused by a decline in the birth rate, the Ministry of Education said in a report.

It was the fifth consecutive year of loss for many schools. In 2016, 24 institutions reported a combined loss of NT$1.05 billion. The number of loss-making schools rose to 35 in 2017, before slipping to 32 in 2018. The figure rebounded to 40 in 2019.

The report also showed the institutions’ cumulative balances for the academic years from 2016 to 2020.

Photo: Rachel Lin, Taipei Times

Culinary Institute of Taiwan (CIT) had the highest positive balance for the period at NT$97 million, followed by Tungnan University at NT$85 million, TransWorld University at NT$83 million NT, NT$70 million Kun Shan University and St Mary’s Junior College. of Medicine, Nursing and Management with NT$4.49 million.

The CIT has definitively closed its doors at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year.

In the most recent academic year, TransWorld reported a loss of NT$85 million, Kunshan and Tungnan reported losses of NT$32 million each, and St Mary’s lost NT$9.67 million.

All four institutions risk facing deficits if they incur losses in the current academic year and spend their accumulated surpluses.

The ministry urged private schools to reduce the scope of their operations and focus on sustainability.

Private school boards also have a responsibility to raise funds, he said.

The ministry said it will continue to offer rewards and incentives to outstanding schools, oversee their finances, screen out schools at financial risk, and provide guidance to schools preparing to exit the market.

National Federation of Teachers’ Union Chairman Hou Chun-liang (侯俊良) said on Saturday that the negative trend in private school balance sheets in recent years indicates a financial imbalance.

The ministry should help such institutions to prevent their losses from increasing, Hou said.

He said schools with the heaviest losses may consider exiting the market so that their land and resources can be used for other purposes.

Taiwan Higher Education Union organization department director Lin Po-yi (林柏儀) said public funds should be diverted to help struggling private schools improve, rather than to force teachers to retire and students to end their studies.

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