AUT University staff are being asked to consider taking a "voluntary enhanced leaving package" as part of a response to significant income drop because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
An email to staff this morning said those in permanent employment in academic, professional or allied, who had served 20 years or are receiving NZ Government paid superannuation would be eligible.
This followed an email yesterday from Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack outlining actions the university was taking to manage its financial situation "to ensure our viability during the disruptions of Covid-19".
An AUT spokeswoman said it was not a redundancy programme but an offer for long-serving staff who might wish to leave with an enhanced package.
"It is a voluntary programme and applications can be received from across the organisation," she said.
"This initiative is in response the substantial reduction in income in 2021 due to lower International student numbers."
McCormack warned of many uncertainties next year and a significant larger revenue shortfall from international student fees.
AUT's July domestic student intake was up 1 to 2 per cent from last year and the university is projecting an increase next year of 4 to 5 per cent.
"While we will have more domestic students in 2021, the income there will only partially offset the international shortfall," he said.
"In 2021, we will also have some unavoidable increased costs to manage. This means that 2021 will be more financially challenging than 2020."
As well as the staff leaving package, other cost-saving initiatives the university was implementing to manage its financial position were staff recruitment restrictions, a freeze on international travel and reviewing operating budgets.
"This [voluntary enhanced leaving package] will be available to academic and professional permanent staff members, clear eligibility criteria apply, and the number that can be accommodated within the scheme is limited," McCormack added.
He said while there was no certainty, after this week's announcement that 250 graduate research students would be allowed back into NZ, he was hopeful of a return of greater numbers of international students in the future.
"We are working with other universities, the city and Government to ensure we will be ready for that whenever it occurs," McCormack said.
Overseas students paid the country's eight universities $503 million in fees in 2018, making up 13 per cent of the universities' total revenue.