There is currently a lot of attention on the University of Twente's finances. This is understandable, as serious challenges lie ahead for UT. But what exactly are they? You can read more in this post.
"University of Twente faces financial challenges," UT reported in June when announcing the Spring Memorandum. In this document, which contains the financial frameworks for the budget for the year 2024, among other things, prognosis of student growth was adjusted downwards. The impact of various cost increases also became increasingly evident. Inflation continues, energy prices remain at higher levels due to ongoing global unrest, and increases in wage costs due to a new collective bargaining agreement were anticipated.
After the adoption of the Spring Memorandum, the service departments and faculties, in close consultation with the Executive Board, started working on the final budget for 2024, using the frameworks from the Spring Memorandum as a starting point. This turned out to be a bigger challenge than expected.
Currently, together with the faculties and service departments, the final touches are being made to that budget, in which choices are made at UT level as well as at the faculty and service department level. The budget will be submitted to the University Council for approval in December. We will, of course, take their views, which they have recently shared, into account. After that, the budget will be on the Supervisory Board's agenda for approval.
The most recent management report, covering the period up to and including August 2023, in which we evaluate how we are doing in the current year, showed that even in 2023, we still have to pull out all the stops to stay within our budget. Without adjustment, UT is heading for a more negative result than budgeted. In view of world events and their impact on the organisation, UT immediately and alertly started working on this with the entire organisation.
In consultation between the Executive Board, faculties and service departments, a number of savings options emerged that can be implemented immediately and that will help to influence the financial result as positively as possible in the current year, but are also necessary to pursue a healthy financial policy in the coming year and possibly beyond. UT employees were informed about these on 22 September.
Our news release of 26 October goes into a bit more detail about the measures and working method. In it, some more explicit explanations are given about opportunities for savings (by, for example, no longer booking lunches at meetings by default and critically assessing the need for travel), and also some more is explained about how UT is critically looking at open vacancies and extending contracts. This was not a new announcement of measures, but a clarification and concretisation of the earlier message. Within the units, supervisors are discussing what this means with their employees, both individually and in teams.
It is clear that UT needs to tighten its belt. Together, we are steering towards making the right choices, so that we do not needlessly break down what we have spent years building and so that we can continue to invest in things that are essential for the future of the university.
The Executive Board is hopeful that together we can make the right choices, also because we see a great closeness and there is still room to prioritise, temporise or organise differently. Units are thinking with each other to see how they can help each other make the right trade-offs. They are willing to go the extra mile themselves if necessary to allow other vital tasks to take place elsewhere. These are important prerequisites for successfully addressing this challenge.