In the worst possible case, rising energy prices could mean a HUF 10 billion (EUR 24.3 million) extra cost for the University of Pécs. The institution does not plan to switch to online or hybrid education from autumn. However, they are considering closing one of their dormitories due to the high heating costs. More details can be found below.
Attila Miseta, the rector of the University of Pécs, said they teach 20,000 students and have a budget close to 100 billion HUF (244.3 million EUR). Since it became a foundation-maintained university last year, it received additional financial sources, Miseta told 24.hu. However, the skyrocketing gas and electricity prices may change significantly.
The rector said the 10 billion HUF expenditure surplus is uncertain because prices change daily. There are signs that the rise will not be as high as the early forecast and economic experts suggested. Besides, the university received government promises that they would get financial support. However, no data has been leaked on how the state budget plans to compensate higher education institutions for the energy crisis.
In the name of the university chancellor responsible for the institution’s management, the procurement and operation director of the chancellory, Tímea Zalayné Cseresznyés, said they are working on different solutions because they do not see clearly their energy expenditure. However, she added that the rising costs could not result in hitches regarding the academic, research or teaching work.
The university’s expenditures currently reach HUF 42 billion (EUR 102 million) per year. One percent is the cost of gas, while 2.5 percent is electricity. In 2022, these rates are expected to go up to 2.5 and 10 percent. That means plus HUF 600 million (EUR 1.46 million) and HUF 3 billion (EUR 7.3 million) on gas and electricity.
There will be a public procurement gas and electricity purchase in 2023, and they hope to get fair prices.
The rectors said they did not plan to switch to online or hybrid education from autumn. He added they would decide so only if the pandemic situation worsens. He also cleared that they could not save too much money with online education because they have to heat the buildings due to the seminars. Meanwhile, lighting is not expensive because they have energy-saving bulbs everywhere.
However, they consider closing some buildings out of the dozens because of their low utilisation but high heating costs. The most probable candidate for that is now the university’s dormitory in Szekszárd. Its utilisation rate is below 50 percent. But they need gas to heat it. It might happen that they will close the building and give rent support to the students.
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