Uni Sydney faces a $470m COVID-19 cost

The University of Sydney takes a huge hit on enrolments with overall numbers down 9.9 per cent

As of Census Day international student numbers were down 16.8 per cent on first semester target. This, Vice Chancellor Michael Spence tells staff, “has significant revenue implications.”

In relatively good news the domestic attrition at census was 4.8 per cent under target.

With another enrolment fall expected for second semester and $55m COVID-19 costs (cleaning, student support, on-line courses) Dr Spence says the university’s virus hit will be $470m this year.

This is significantly higher than estimated a month ago, when Uni Sydney expected a $200m COVID-19 cost, (CMM March 4).

“it is now clear that the health crisis will have longer term effects on our community, our economy and our sector, and the university is facing the prospect of a prolonged recovery,” the vice chancellor adds.

Dr Spence says savings measures in place will continue for discretionary, procurement and project spends. Infrastructure investment and recruitment are paused. He makes no mention of staff stand-downs but adds, there will be “further measures” as “we continue to talk with federal and state government and explore all possible avenues to support our financial position.”