Staff cuts, federal funds helped SA unis stay positive in ’21

The South Australian Auditor General reports the states three public universities received $157m in increased Commonwealth funding last year and cut staff costs by $45m, offsetting the impact of COVID 19 – income from international students was down 10 per cent on 2020

While total academic employment across the three was marginally down by 77 FTE, professional staff FTE was reduced from 4916  in 2021 to 4446.

All three universities recorded positive financial results.

Flinders U had a $36m surplus on income of $557m, a similar result to 2020.

Uni Adelaide revenue was up $154m (to $1.147bn) due in large part to $100m more from the Commonwealth. The operating result was $201m, up from $40m in 2020. Fees from international students were steady, at $254m.

Uni SA more than doubled its operating result to $54m, (from $21m in 2020).This was despite a small decline in income, to $679m – due in large part to a $36m fall in fees and charges, to $135m.  This was offset by  $31m increase in Commonwealth grants.

“The effect of COVID19 on future earnings for the South Australian university sector remain uncertain,” the Auditor General states.