Uni Newcastle in the (not quite as much) money

The university spent reserves last year – good thing it had plenty

It managed a statutory surplus of $5.8m last year, down from $67m in 2019. When committed funds and unrealised investment gains are excluded there was an $18.7m operating deficit.

The university also liquidated assets and spent cash to “absorb some of the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency.”

Even so, if the university forgets its wallet and needs to borrow a tenner UoN should be good for it.

Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s reports the university’s cash and financial assets in 2019 could cover debt just shy of 50 times, (three time or greater is “particularly sturdy”).

This rampagingly robust result is explained in the 2019 annual report -back then the university had no, as in none, external borrowings and $534m in investments.

The university’s annual report will be tabled in NSW state parliament next month but is unlikely to have burned all its reserves.

Which may be why Vice Chancellor Alex Zelinsky is so keen to focus on operating income when making the case for savings. “Efforts over recent years to bring costs down have not been sufficient to curb the widening gap between revenue and expenses. The university is at risk of not being financially sustainable if we continue to operate in this way,” he told staff


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