ANU warns on student numbers

Brian Schmidt urges ANU community to, “teach like our jobs depend on it – because they do”

“We need to give our students the best ANU experience in this time,” of absolute crisis because it is as hard on them as it as hard on us,” the vice chancellor told 400 plus staff at virtual meeting.

“How many students persevere depends on how well we do.”

The vice chancellor told that so far, this year, the university has done “extremely well” on student numbers, with 94 per cent of students at the beginning of the year “still engaged” with the university.  But he warns domestic students can withdraw up to census date, in May and internationals have until June to withdraw without penalty.

“While things are pretty good now there will be a diminution that is not insubstantial.”

Looking to semester two and especially next year, Professor Schmidt said, “a lot will depend” on how the government approaches visas and opening the borders.” And no one knows how students will respond to enrolling for the first-time in an on-line only university

The Vice Chancellor assured staff “zero international enrolments is not going to happen, we will do better than that, we have a huge number of students already on-shore.” But he warned there will likely be a revenue fall “in the hundreds of millions of dollars next year.”

However, he added the university’s strong balance sheet meant ANU was “looking at more graceful measures” than forced redundancies.

“The staff that we have here is the one we largely need in 2021-22.”

He added that if changes were needed they would be addressed in a “highly consultative manner.”