The state budget includes an allocation of NOK 1.369 billion to Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (INN University). At first glance, it appears that INN University will have NOK 13 million more at its disposal in 2023 than in the current year, but this is purely on paper.
“The reality is that we experience tens of millions in increased costs as a result of wage and price increases and high electricity prices. The result is that we have to reduce our activity and actually cut what we are able to deliver,” says Svenkerud.
High energy costs
Energy costs have risen sharply, and the institution has estimated the cost to be NOK 19 to 36 million higher than budgeted in 2023. If the price of electricity becomes very high, the costs will increase further.
“We understand that Europe is in an abnormal and demanding situation. Nevertheless, we are very disappointed that the state budget does not provide any form of compensation for the extra costs resulting from the electricity prices,” says the rector.
“These are extra costs that affect institutions differently. We are hit doubly hard by the fact that we are located in an area with very high prices, and are a multi-campus institution and thus have numerous buildings that require electricity,” he adds.
steep price increase
The 13-million-increase in the framework for INN University next year does not compensate for the real increase in wages and prices. A three percent price increase will result in additional costs of NOK 40 million for the institution in 2023. There are many indications that the price increase could be even higher – perhaps twice as what is expected.
This has further consequences, such as rent costs that increase in line with price increases, without being compensated.
“Overall, our challenges next year will be significant, and we will be forced to reduce expenses by many tens of millions,” says Peer Jacob Svenkerud.
Cutting expected revenue
On top of the cost increases, the budget also contains changes that reduce the revenue that the institution has expected to receive.
Various efficiency measures reduce income by NOK 12 million compared to what is anchored in the institution’s long-term financial plan.
Extra study places that were created as four-year places through an extra grant linked to the coronavirus pandemic will also be changed to three-year places, and the funding for the last year of study will disappear.
The introduction of a five-year master’s degree in teacher training is also not fully funded with this year’s budget.
“To sum it up, I would say that the overall picture is that INN University will face a significantly more difficult situation next year. It affects our ability to deliver what we want – and can – for the benefit of the region and Norway. I think that's a shame,” concludes Rector Peer Jacob Svenkerud.
This article was translated from Norwegian by Noorit Larsen.