University announces 2022 financial results

The University of Melbourne advises of its financial position.

The University of Melbourne today provided an update on its financial position for the year ending 31 December 2022.

In line with previous forecasts, the University’s financial results for 2022 show an operating deficit of $104 million.

The operating deficit can be largely attributed to an increase in expenditure on student pandemic support, which includes $81 million spent on student scholarships and student grants, and an increase in spending linked to the return to campus. In addition, revenue from student enrolments, particularly international students, remained below pre-pandemic level estimates.

The University’s financial results also show a net deficit of $203 million which was driven by unrealised investment losses due to a downturn in financial markets (reversing the gains from the previous year) and the operating deficit.

The 2022 operating result contrasts with the previous year when the University recorded an operating surplus of $147 million. However, the 2021 surplus was boosted by an unexpected $111 million pandemic funding grant that was included in the 2020 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, as well as a reduction in University spending of $254 million.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the results are not unexpected.

“Over the past few years, the University has carefully managed its finances to ensure it could deal with the long-term effects of the pandemic,” Professor Maskell said. “We had prepared for 2022 to be a difficult year as the cumulative effects of reduced student enrolments in previous years continued to flow through.

“Now, with international borders open and students returning to campus, I’m optimistic that the University has reached the peak of its pandemic financial recovery and we can be a lot more positive about the future.”

The University is forecasting a smaller deficit in 2023 and remains mindful of other challenges posed by rising inflation and increases in the costs of non-discretionary items. However, the University is on the path to financial stability and will continue to invest in its core teaching, learning and research.

“The University is not expected to return to surplus this year, but I have no doubt that the most difficult days are behind us,” Professor Maskell said.

“I am looking forward to focusing on the opportunities that lie ahead in relation to our collective research endeavours, the significant work underway to improve our student experience, and the further strengthening of our University community.”