A look at the new R220 million private university campus in Centurion

Private tertiary education group Stadio has completed the first phase of its Stadio Centurion campus, set to open for students in 2022.

The group has pumped around R223 million into the campus, which will offer a range of qualifications – from higher certificates to degrees in education, management, IT, commerce, and law. It will offer contact learning and also provide support for distance learning students, Stadio said.

The JSE listed investment holdings company holds investments in three private higher education institutions – Stadio Higher Education, AFDA and Milpark offering both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on the contact, distance and blended learning modes of delivery.

While Stadio has recorded a decline in contact learning students over the last year – mainly due to students delaying or deferring studies given the uncertainties of Covid-19 – the group is confident that contact learning will recover.

Regulatory delays in accrediting programmes and site extensions impacted the group’s growth plans for many of its contact learning sites during the first six months of 2021, but it said that contact learning student numbers will recover once normalcy and stability return to campuses and regulatory approvals are finalised.

Financial results and student numbers

On Tuesday (30 August), the group reported a 17% increase in revenue for the six months ended June 2021, to R548 million, while core headline earnings for the period increased by 44% to R82 million. No dividend was declared.

Student enrolments across all campuses were up 11% to 34,494 from 31,053 before. Over the same period, distance learning students grew by 15% to 28,573 students (June 2020: 24,784), while contact learning students declined by 6% to 5,921 students.

As at August 2021, the group had 38,101 students (August 2020: 33,586 students) enrolled, with second-semester enrolments still in progress.

New campuses

In addition to the Centurion campus, Stadio is also working on other developments to expand its portfolio. A key development is a mega-campus in Durbanville. In February 2021, the group took transfer of land earmarked for this development, with an anticipated opening date of January 2024.

For the six-month period ended June 2021, the group invested R41 million into the completion of the Stadio Centurion campus. It invested a further R71 million for the transfer of and for development contributions related to the Stadio Durbanville land.

A further R23 million was invested across the group on existing facilities and moveable assets, it said.

Stadio CEO Chris Vorster said: “The focus up to now has been on consolidating entities and laying a solid foundation for a new structure and managing the change. These solid results pave the way for a shift in focus to growth in 2022. Some 47 new academic programmes currently in the pipeline will also enhance the potential for growth.

“Stadio’s first mega-campus opening for new students in early 2022 in Gauteng will be part of the drive for growth. Phase one of Stadio Centurion was completed in June 2021. Stadio’s smaller Gauteng campuses will migrate to Stadio Centurion over time, which in turn will unlock more cost efficiencies.”

He said that due to the economic impact of Covid-19, many students are under financial pressure with their studies. For this reason, Stadio has partnered with Capitec to provide affordable loans to students.

“Stadio is in a strong cash position with a cash balance of R111 million at 30 June 2021 and our target is still firmly set on 56,000 students by 2026,” Vorster said.

Read: South African private tertiary education provider Stadio reports 10% growth in student numbers

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A look at the new R220 million private university campus in Centurion