Universities have war chest to confront coronavirus

Australia’s major universities have built cash reserves of more than AUS$12 billion (US$8 billion) and significant borrowing power, putting them in a strong position to weather the immediate blow of the coronavirus without the need for a government bailout, writes Fergus Hunter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

While many universities face heavy financial losses as 100,000 international students remain barred from entering the country for the start of the first semester, the 10 institutions that host the vast majority of the Chinese students have reserves ranging from AU$48 million to AU$3.9 billion, according to government figures.

The Group of Eight elite research universities, along with RMIT University and the University of Technology Sydney, account for over 75% of Chinese students in Australia and stand to lose the most from the ongoing travel ban. The university regulator and federal government believe the institutions’ financial positions mean it is unlikely they will need to turn to government for emergency intervention. The institutions are also looking to cut costs – including by postponing capital works – in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Full report on The Sydney Morning Herald site