Top earning university made $71M last year

By Duong Tam   November 5, 2023 | 07:07 pm PT
Top earning university made $71M last year
A corner of the Van Lang University in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Van Lang University
Van Lang University in Ho Chi Minh City reported revenues of VND1.758 trillion ($71.65 million) last year, the highest in the country, mandatory financial reports by universities show.

The reports, published at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year, show that nine universities had incomes of over VND1 trillion, four more than two years earlier.

They included five public schools: the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, University of Economics HCMC, Ton Duc Thang University, National Economics University and Can Tho University.

FPT University, Nguyen Tat Thanh University and the HCMC University of Technology, besides Van Lang, rounded off the list.

Van Lang was followed by the University of Economics HCMC with an income of VND1.443 trillion.

FPT University reported revenues of VND1.3 trillion.

The revenues come from tuition and other fees and technology transfer among other sources.

Tuitions typically make up the largest portion, especially for private universities.

Le Viet Khuyen, vice chairman of the Association of Vietnamese Universities and Colleges, was wary of the rising tuitions, saying: "High revenues are a good thing. But if the revenues mostly depend on tuitions, and the fact that tuitions keep rising ... That is a bad sign."

At a conference in April on universities' financial independence, World Bank experts cited data showing that in 2017 the government provided 24% of public universities’ resources while tuitions made up 57%. By 2021 tuitions made up 77% and government funding only accounted for 9%.

Public schools are becoming increasingly reliant on tuitions amid low spending on university education (around 0.27% of GDP in 2020).

In contrast, in countries with developed tertiary education, a large proportion of schools’ incomes comes from other sources like businesses, sponsorships, and research.

"Increasing revenues from these activities is a good thing," Khuyen said, warning that schools should not hike tuitions to increase revenues without accounting for people’s incomes since it would lead to unequal access to education.

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