University of Adelaide 2020 Annual Report published

Goodman cres

The University of Adelaide’s Annual Report for 2020 has today been tabled in South Australian Parliament.

The University’s 2020 Annual Report can be found here.

On 28 May 2021, the University provided its 2020 Annual Report to the South Australian Government for tabling in Parliament. On the same day, the University publicly released its audited financial results for 2020.

Legislation prevents South Australia’s universities from releasing their full annual reports until they are tabled in Parliament.

2020 financial results

As announced on 28 May 2021, the University statutory net operating result was $40.8 million for 2020 (compared with a net operating result of $42.9 million in 2019).

The 2020 statutory net operating result includes approximately $30 million in tied funding for research and scholarships: $10 million in donations and bequests as well as $20 million of research funding from the Federal Government to establish the South Australian immunoGENomics Cancer Institute (SAiGENCI). Without these receipts, the 2020 surplus would have been $10 million.

Against a revenue of $977 million, the University reported an underlying 2020 net operating result of only $9.3 million (down from $12 million in 2019). This represents discretionary funds available to be reinvested in the University’s critical operations of teaching and learning, research, and infrastructure.

The University recorded a relatively steady financial performance for 2020 compared with 2019 due mainly to:

  • Proactive steps taken by management and University-wide support from staff to deliver comprehensive financial savings measures against the impacts of COVID-19, including: staff purchased leave, voluntary separation of 157 staff, and a pause on infrastructure projects, staff hiring and other expenditure (total savings: $90 million)
  • Better-than-expected enrolments, particularly from continuing international students enrolling remotely (total international student revenue: $254 million in 2020, the same as in 2019) – but with a reduction against budget targets of $293 million
  • A record year for research revenue (total research revenue: $234 million in 2020, compared with $185 million in 2019)
  • A record year for philanthropy from more than 1,600 donors.

The discretionary funds available from the 2020 underlying net operating result were only $9.3 million; by comparison, the University’s salary bill is about $10 million per week.

Financial challenges ahead

The University’s financial result for 2020 has no bearing on the University’s forward-looking financial impact of the pandemic in 2022 and beyond. The pipeline effects of reduced international student intake will not be felt until 2022.

Despite strong enrolments of international students continuing their studies with the University from offshore, these students are progressively completing their degrees. The number of new commencing international students has been in steady decline since last year, and this reduction in new enrolments is in line with the University’s projections.

Australia’s universities are currently impacted by the closed borders through a projected reduction in the number of new international students, which will impact on the universities financially for some years to come.

Although the University of Adelaide by no means is the most exposed in this regard, current projections are that the University in the absence of any action faces a financial shortfall of $22 million in 2022 and an annual shortfall of $47 million by 2023.

To avert its financial shortfall, the University is proposing to make $30 million in savings and identify new opportunities to generate $20 million in additional revenue.

These structural changes in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are aimed at reducing administrative costs and spending more of the University’s available finances on teaching and learning, and the quality of the student experience.

No detailed decisions about the changes have yet been made. The University is currently consulting with staff and students about the proposals, and will continue to do so for some months to come.

The University of Adelaide is a not-for-profit educational institution – funds received by the University are reinvested into its core activities of teaching and learning and research.

Snapshot of the University of Adelaide in 2020:

  • Revenue of $977 million
  • Responsible for 3,900 (FTE) direct jobs in South Australia
  • Approx. 23,000 students (EFTSL), including more than 7,400 international students
  • Total research income of $234 million
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