Glowing to gloom in Queensland university financial reports

Queensland university annual reports are presented to state parliament.

James Cook U: The good news is that; “university council is focused on ensuring the sustainability of our university.” The better news is that council will not be bored for want of anything to do. Student demand has peaked which has “resulted in pressures associated with maintaining student numbers” and the university recorded a $4.3m loss last year on revenues of $513m, down $36m on 2017. Debt was up $32m to $101m.

University of Queensland: While urging all to avoid complacency,  Vice Chancellor Peter Hoj is pretty pleased; “our student numbers increased, our research output proliferated, our teachers continued to be the most awarded in Australia and our liaison with the general community brought rewards on both sides.” Total income was up $80m, to $1.864bn. with an overall operating result of $47.5m, a turn-around on 2016’s $15m loss. (That result isn’t as bad as it looks, the university depreciated ageing assets (CMM January 24).)

QUT: Outgoing VC Peter Coaldrake left the university in solid shape with 2017 revenue of $1.063bn delivering a headline $100m operating surplus up 9 per cent on 2016. The underlying profit margin was 7.9 per cent.

CQU: While the TAFE division is not in the money VC Scott Bowman has turned the university around and leaves it in much better shape than it was when he arrived –a point reported in regional Queensland papers who report relatively glowing results, glowingly.  Total revenues were up $42m on 2016, to $421m, with a $21m net result, up $6m.

Griffith U: VC Ian O’Connor will leave the university in its best financial shape for years, with the first lift in net result from continuing operations in five years. Income was up $40m on 2016, to $957m, while continuing operational expenses grew just $2m to $881m. The university warns that thanks to the feds times will be tough and “sustainable investment, prudent cost control, and maximising revenue streams where possible, will be vital.”

University of Southern Queensland: USQ states its $320m operating income, delivers a “sustainable fiscal position” which “provided opportunities to address emerging challenges in 2018 and beyond.” But sustainable for how long. Revenue did not grow between 2016 and ’17 while expenses increased by $23m, delivering a marginal net loss.

University of Sunshine Coast: The university continues to expand its courses, campuses and enrolments – with student numbers up 16 per cent in 2017. The university delivered a net result of $18m on revenues of $273m. Year on year expenses increased $46m to $255m.


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