Monash U’s finances: horrible this year and next

Vice Chancellor Margaret Gardner tells staff 2020 the university is $395m short this year and faces a “continuing shortfall” next

What’s goneWith enrolment figures in for first semester Professor Gardner expects full year student fees to be down $220m with a further $130m decline in research and commercial income. She adds the university is also up for another $40m to support pathway provider Monash College (where income is down 40 per cent) and $15m to assist students.

Some savings: The VC identifies savings – $100m on capital works and “around” $200m in reduced operating costs. This includes $80m from a recruitment freeze, the 20 per cent pay cut for senior executives and, “the reduction in casual and sessional staff (which we have tried to minimise”).  But she adds Monash U is drawing down on cash and increasing borrowing, “to pay for day-to-day operations this year.”

But more needed: Professor Gardner tells staff, “we are part of the national discussions with the National Tertiary Education Union about ways to reduce other salary-related costs, through voluntary and involuntary measures, to minimise the scale of job loss.” (Professor Gardner is a member of the original group of four VCs in talks with the union, CMM April 2).

If anything is agreed with the NTEU, the Monash community will have to get used to it; “These measures will be necessary to deal with the continuing shortfall we will face in 2021,” the VC says.