Revenue fell by more than $2 billion in 2020 – less than feared – but universities are increasingly vulnerable to worsening conditions, with losses of international students accelerating.
Our current quarantine capacity would take six months to handle the return of 150,000 existing students, but 70,000 new students every six months would also be needed to halt the fall in enrolments.
Universities and the international education sector have developed a number of concrete plans to bring international students to Australia. But they have all been shelved without a clear explanation.
Out of the crises of the 1890s and 1940s Australia created quality, enduring legacies in post-school education. We now have a chance to upgrade these legacies to aid economic and social renewal.
Universities have financial resources — property, bequests and philanthropic funds, and access to lines of credit — they can access rather than forcing staff to sacrifice their jobs.