An internal analysis of the annual report provided by a university in New South Wales to the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Times showed that if the tuition income of international students continues to drop by one third or more as expected this year.
Among them, some institutions, including the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Southern Cross University (Southern Cross) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW), are at high risk of running out of cash reserves.
Universities have hoped that international students can return to China in large numbers before the second semester of 2021, but the new clusters of new coronavirus infections, highly infectious virus variants, and uncertainties in vaccine promotion may delay their return until 2022.
Ravi Singh, the general manager of Global Reach, which represents the interests of Australian universities in South Asia and the chairman of the Australian Education Representative Association in India, is worried that some universities are "disguising" tuition discounts in the form of scholarships.
"The discounts are quite strong, especially in private institutions." He said, "Universities also have some discounts, but they will pretend to be scholarships."
Western Sydney University provides scholarships worth 6000 yuan, 3000 yuan (AUD, the same below) or 50% of the tuition fee based on academic performance.
A university newsletter in December recommended that all bachelor students apply for a multi-year scholarship of 12 yuan, which originally required an ATAR of 3000 to apply.
Melbourne's Institute of Technology in Melbourne scholarships provide 15% to 25% tuition discounts for international students staying in Australia for bachelor and master degrees in information technology and systems, and up to 50% for other students.
The tuition discount for the MBA is 40% to 50%.
Swinburne University of Technology provides 30% to 75% tuition discounts for international students through scholarships.
A spokesperson for Swinburne University said its website needs to be updated, but the school offers a series of scholarships to "provide financial support for students during this challenging time."
The Australian Institute of Higher Education (Australian Institute of Higher Education) in Sydney provides students with a bachelor's degree in business information systems with a "STEM Women" scholarship worth 6000 yuan per semester.
It also provides bursaries in accordance with 20% of the standard fees of all courses and provides flexible payment schemes for international students in Australia.
The Australian National University (ANU) last year provided a subsidy of up to 1.3 yuan for on-campus accommodation in the first year, and provided a 25% tuition waiver for sophomore international students, worth up to 1.2 yuan.
The above-mentioned scholarship is gone this year. Instead, it is a merit-based scholarship worth 2.5 yuan per year, including a one-off tuition fee reduction of between A$1.5 and A$2.5 for "high-achieving students" each year.
Data from the Universities Admissions Centre also shows that UNSW's ATAR admission line for majors including Bachelor of Business has dropped from 96 last year to 93 this year.
The ATAR of the Bachelor of Commerce dropped from 90.1 last year to 85.05 this year.
Principal Merlin Crossley also said that UNSW has lowered the ATAR of some majors including engineering and science.
At present, the number of new students enrolled in international students is about 70% of that before the epidemic, "an increase from last year", but it is still affected by the federal government's entry limit.
UNSW is one of the major universities that rely heavily on the income of international students to fund scientific research. Last year, it laid off 500 employees to manage its budget.
According to the data released in the 2019 University Annual Report, UTS has earned 4.72 million yuan in income from international students and has a cash reserve of 1.638 million yuan. A 35% drop in international student income may use up these cash reserves. Southern Cross University is about 3120. Ten thousand yuan in cash or assets close to cash will also not be guaranteed.
As long as UNSW's revenue drops by 60%, it will run out of cash reserves.Peter Hurley, an education policy researcher at the Mitchell Institute at the University of Victoria, said that it is not surprising to compete for domestic students, "because they are the main source of freshmen as the border is closed."
"In 2021, the income of international students in colleges and universities may drop significantly." He said.
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Editor: Wang Dan
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