University of Newcastle: Strong results for University of Newcastle

The 2021 Annual Report, tabled in NSW Parliament this week, sets out the achievements and financial performance of the higher education provider during what was another disrupted year for their students, staff and the community.

In 2021, the University taught 39,096 students from 98 countries and saw 7,406 people graduate across 203 programs.

University of Newcastle Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO said, “We should never underestimate the life-changing impact that education will have on each of these individuals.”

“Importantly, in 2021 our University had the highest number of full-time equivalent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students of any university in the country. This reflects our ongoing commitment to First Nations peoples and is an important position from which to build,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“In 2021, we achieved $113m in research income, positioning us ninth in Australia and reflecting our outstanding academics across our institution. Coupling this with the fact that we were the number one university in Australia for industry collaboration means we’re in a unique position to help our local and national economies transition and grow.”

The document also showed a strong financial result, with the University reporting a surplus of $185.6m.

“The size of the surplus is unusual and it’s important to take a closer look at what’s happening,” Professor Zelinsky said.

The key driver of the surplus was strong investment returns which were mostly unrealised at the end of the year. The result included one-off benefits from the Education Australia Ltd transaction of $86.1m – every university in Australia received a benefit following a joint decision to divest the investment in IDP Education, a publicly listed company.

“While ultimately our University achieved a surplus in 2021, it was the positive investment return that helped to buffer our overall financial position. Our aim is to ensure our University remains financially sustainable for the long-term,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“Using funds from our surpluses is the most important way we can deliver on our mission to provide an exceptional student experience and to serve our regions. It’s what we use to keep our University competitive with other institutions in Australia and abroad.

“We will invest in student accommodation that helps house students who we know want to live close to where they study, including the more than 500 students who were waitlisted for student accommodation this year. This will help ease housing pressures on our local community and add to the vibrancy of our cities.

“We will invest in teaching and learning spaces like health, life sciences and engineering laboratories and tutorial rooms to provide the technology our students, staff and industry partners need and expect.

“And we’ll make sure our campuses remain vibrant places where staff, students and visitors want to work, study and socialise.”

“Our University’s achievements in 2021 are testament to the effort of our staff and together we remain focused on setting our University up to succeed in 2022 and beyond,” said Professor Zelinsky.