Monash U reports $259m operating surplus for 2020

But VC Margaret Gardner warns “no full university economic recovery” with deficits in’22 and ‘23

In a message to staff late Friday night, Professor Gardner set out financial results for last year, which turned out not as bad as originally expected.

* a $259 operating surplus, which she describes as “a buffer for the future”

* final “revenue shortfall” was $142m down on budget, compared to the $350m expected when the pandemic started

* international student enrolment income was down 11 per cent, $121m.

Monash U now predicts a break-even budget this year, with a $55m surplus but a $149m deficit in 2022 and $77m in ’23, “as lower numbers of students in 2020 and 2021 work through the system.” Overall international student numbers are expected to be down 27 per cent this year.

“We know that the continuing decline in international student numbers means that full university economic recovery will not happen this year (or in 2022),” she states.

However, Professor Gardner says the staff-agreed delay to a pay rise will end as scheduled and “we need not plan for university wide job losses” this year.

Which is an improvement on last, when, the VC says “a number of staff left the university.”

Quite a number, by October 286 people in operating areas targeted for cuts had “lodged interest” in a voluntary separation and 156 staff in other eligible units had asked about exiting. The university wanted to reduce headcount by 277 FTE, (CMM October 27).