The preparation costs for the campus in Yantai will likely be more than two million euros altogether. The university had previously estimated that the preparation costs would be around one million euros. The RUG hopes to officially set up the branch campus later this year.
On Thursday, university vice president Jan de Jeu told the University Council that the costs would be up to 700,000 euros, but that turned out not to be the full amount. ‘De Jeu’s statement was referring to the budget for 2017 through September’, says RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens.
In 2015, the preparation costs were 750,000 euros. Together with the budget for 2017, that will add up to more than 1.4 million euros. That does not include the costs accumulated in 2016, which the university has not yet made known.
Deekens says that the 2016 costs will be included in the annual report, which should be published soon. ‘In the annual report, the total results will be explained. De Jeu has shared the budget, which is something different. The financial result of Yantai will be part of the total accounting for 2016’, the spokesperson explains.
If the university also spent 700,000 euros on preparations for the campus in China in 2016, that would mean a combined expenditure of more than 2 million euros. The 2016 costs can only be confirmed once the annual report is published.
Two years ago, the decision was made to hire extra staff to prepare for the campus in China. These extra employees went to the faculties involved and various departments in the Office of the University, including the HR department and property and investment projects.
The preparations are being financed through private funds, for example revenue from contact education and research.
Yantai is to be discussed by the relevant co-determination councils at the RUG this summer. In either June or July, the faculty councils will be asked to give their consent to a proposal on the programmes that will be taught in China in the autumn of 2018. In August, the campus application will be presented for consent to the staff and students that make up the University Council.
The Board of Directors want the councils to consent before the Lower House discusses the AMvB (governmental decree) that deals with the legal implementation of the foreign campus.
The RUG is in a hurry because they do not want the preparation costs, for which they are currently footing the bill, to rise any further. Once the University of Groningen Yantai (UGY) has been set up, the operations will be paid for by the institute in China. UGY will then pay the RUG for all the work that is being done directly and indirectly, both in Groningen and in China, on a monthly basis.
In addition, the RUG board hopes to obtain the councils’ consent before any new parties take a seat. The university elections are currently underway. The elected parties will take their seats on the councils in September. If Yantai is not discussed by the faculty councils and the University Council until then, it will likely lead to a delay because the new members will have to be brought up to speed with all the details concerning the campus.