WA universities tough ‘22

Annual reports tabled in state parliament reveal worse financial returns than in 2021

 Overall, the WA public unis suffered from the end of one-off Covid relief payments and no repeat of the 2021 income hike from the sale of the formerly uni system owned IDP international student recruitment business

Curtin U: net operating loss of $36m down from a $113m surplus in ‘21

Income from government HELP payments and student fees was unchanged on 2021 but Commonwealth grants dropped by $20m, presumably caused by the absence of one-off Covid support payments.

Overall revenue was down by $80m to $914m, due in apparent part to investment moving from $89m in’21 to a $20m loss in ‘22.

International student commencements in early ’22 were up 45 per cent on ’21.

Spending was controlled, with staff costs up $200 000, to $543.4m.

Edith Cowan U: net result of $36m on $477m, down from $78.8m on $533m in ‘21

Income from the Commonwealth and student fees was largely unchanged but the university took a $30m hit on investment income and $35m in lower state and local government assistance. These account for the overall income decline from $533m in ’21 to $477m in ’22.

The drop in state government support is due to a one-off $40m land transfer in ’21, for ECU’s new Perth CBD campus.

Outlays were down $15m, mainly due to a $20m decline in employee expenses, to $261m.

Murdoch U: net operating loss of $37m last year down from a surplus of $14.6m in ’21

Revenue dropped from $392m in ’21 to $365m in ’22 and expenses increased from $377m in ’21 to $402m last year. A large part of the loss is from a decline in investment revenue, from $23m to $4.7m and a $26m increase in the consolidated accounts for “other expenses” notably “other student teaching and related expenditure” (up $6m to $13.4m) and “people development training and travel” (rising from $8.2m to $14.8m)

The university also reports that commencing student numbers fell for the fourth straight year, down from 10 834 in 2018 to 7574 in ’22.

UWA was in surplus, just -with consolidated income of $1.071bn it had a $20m net result

Overall income was down $100m with investment revenue and income down from $163m to $78m. The university also lists $99m in “investment losses” for ’22. The other big loss was a $40m drop in Commonwealth grants – likely caused by no replacement for the one-off 2021 Covid-emergency research payment. Employee costs were down $20m to $538m.

UWA states it prefers to use operating margin, based on earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation which excludes investment income.  On this basis UWA states it , “is marginally above its 2021 performance and exceeded its 2022 target.