CANBERRA—The Australian National University (ANU) will be accepting 2,500 Australian school-leavers next year based on their year 11 results from April 9 until May 25, 2020.
This comes after many graduating students have had their exams and assessments interrupted by the CCP Virus “CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.” The figure is roughly equivalent to recent intakes.
The CCP virus pandemic has left universities confronting an uncertain future for domestic enrolments.
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said in a video statement that 2020 was not “panning out how any of us expected” and that this “will provide thousands of school-leavers from all across the nation with certainty in uncertain times.”
Offers of university placements will also be sent out earlier in August, with the hope being that this will allow students to prepare and plan for university next year.
The peak body for the sector, Universities Australia (UA), said on April 7 that Australia’s universities were facing a steep revenue decline owing to the reduction in international students for the second semester. It estimated the loss would be between AU$3–$4.6 billion ($1.9–2.5 billion).
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said in the same statement that universities around Australia may lose 21,000 jobs in the next 6 months or more if the pandemic lockdown continues. A report by Professional Services firm Deloitte Australia commissioned by UA estimated that the university sector brings in AU$41 billion ($25 billion) in revenue for Australia.
Overseas Enrollments Down, Financial Pain Coming
The loss of international students has walloped the sector. In 2019 Australian universities gave 720,000 spots to overseas students, with the largest group coming from China.
Salvatore Babones, a researcher from the University of Sydney, released a study in 2019 detailing how Australian universities were relying far too much on overseas enrolments. He argued if the sector did not stop, “Australian universities would be hard-pressed to meet their financial and moral obligations to creditors and employees.”
Detailing how his employer generated more than half a billion dollars in annual revenue from Chinese student fees in 2017. Babones noted that universities need to stop pursuing international students, or they will be “a risk to Australian governments” and ultimately to Australians themselves.
Universities are also aware of the dangers faced by opening themselves up to large numbers of international students. In 2019 the Australian National University suffered a huge data breach by Chinese hackers that had been going on for 19 years. While in Queensland, universities saw increasing interference from Chinese international student groups.
In response to the difficulties, the Australian government set up a taskforce to monitor and stop further interference.