NTEU Media Release: Government Figures Over State Financial Health of Universities
Figures released today by the federal government over state the financial health of Australia’s universities, according to the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).
While the figures show that universities made a $1.98 billion financial surplus in 2010, they do not include the full extent of universities capital expenditure (spending on property, plant and equipment).
“In 2010 universities operating surpluses included $548 million in one-off Commonwealth capital grants, predominantly through the Government’s Education Investment Fund. This funding was desperately needed and greatly welcomed,” said NTEU National Assistant Secretary, Matthew McGowan.
“However, the data released yesterday, also shows that universities spent approximately $2.7 billion on capital expenditure, the vast bulk of which, for accounting reasons, is not included in the calculation of their operating surplus.”
“The public needs to be careful as to how it interprets university financial data, because the data also shows that in 2010, 23 universities experienced negative cash flows in 2010, that is, they spent more than they earned, with the sector as a whole reducing its cash holding by approximately $100 million.”
“NTEU would emphasise these figures do not provide any evidence that per student funding is adequate, as the government’s own inquiries into higher education have shown.”
“Nor do they dispute the reality that our university system is approaching breaking point.”
“A more accurate picture of the financial health of universities will be contained in the government’s review of university base funding, the findings of which now sit with Tertiary Education Minister Senator Chris Evans.”
“Our members repeatedly tell us that their workloads are increasing, casualisation is a major problem, student to staff ratios are sky rocketing, and they have less resources to do their jobs.”
“We look forward to the outcomes of this review to determine whether the current levels of public funding are sufficient to sustain the high quality teaching and research expected of universities by the Australian public.”
For further information:
Andrew Nette, NTEU National Media Officer: 0431 217 131