Research is increasing, but the volume of education is decreasing

On Tuesday 19 February, the university's annual report for 2018 was approved by the Board. The financial outcome was a deficit of 2.7 million SEK and the biggest cause is that educational volume in 2018 was lower than expected. The university's educational volume was 5,486 full-time students, which is on par with 2016 and 2017. The university's educational assignment was 5,800 full-time students. The model for the governance of the university enables using savings from previous years, but what we had has now been exhausted.

Facts: Funding cap and educational volume
The university receives compensation from the government to educate a certain number of students. There is a maximum limit called the funding cap. The expected number of educated students is the volume of education.

"This means that we must increase our educational volume in 2019. The university last year began efforts to offer new courses, freestanding courses and distance education opportunities that will hopefully have an effect this year. But we need to do more; we now need to conduct an analysis of the situation in order to consider possible measures to be taken," says Mats Tinnsten, Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Planning of these required measures has now begun. However, failing to fill the number of educational spots is not a phenomenon isolated to the University of Borås; rather this is the case for the majority of institutions in Sweden.

"Last year, the effects of the good economic climate and, particularly in West Sweden, the labour market were clearly visible. In combination with nationally declining applications to higher education, especially for teacher education, the low levels of unemployment and the smaller cohorts of young people have affected both admission and drop-out rates and made the university's planned expansion more difficult to achieve. This meant that the university did not carry out education to the extent planned and the government's funding cap was not reached," he continues.

The annual report shows, among other things, that the University of Borås's work on sustainable development and our textile profile has resulted in the government commission to establish a national platform for sustainable fashion and textile.

"At the same time as the total education volume is decreasing, it is positive that the proportion of students studying freestanding courses and at a distance has increased for the first time in five years," says Magnus Bergenholtz, Controller at the university.

The number of degrees awarded at the undergraduate and graduate levels, especially in the teacher and health education programmes, also increased compared to 2017.

"This is gratifying as the university has a government assignment to educate more students in these areas," he says.

The number of peer-reviewed publications and doctoral theses defended also increased during the year. In total, 19 defences were carried out and 15 of them took place at our institution and four at partner institutions. The number of doctoral students increased to 88 at the University of Borås and 31 at other universities who are also receiving funding from us. Our external research income increased by 10 per cent, while net assets increased by 30 per cent.

"This is positive as this shows that our research is competitive and that the institution has the capacity to maintain the current level and the planned growth," says Magnus Bergenholtz.
Text: Anna Kjellsson
Photo: Anna Sigge

Translation: Eva Medin