University of Wollongong vice-chancellor Paul Wellings on Thursday also revealed a shortfall of $90 million linked to COVID-19 restrictions, which he said would have “compounding effects for subsequent years”.
Wollongong executive leadership will take a 20 per cent pay cut for 12 months and freeze non-essential external recruitment.
Professor Glover said WSU would compensate by increasing domestic student numbers and reducing expenditure, including by cutting its casual budget in semester two while courses were predominantly delivered online.
Casual staff will be prioritised for work on new six-month online courses created by the federal government’s higher education relief package, but Professor Glover said the scheme did not “go far enough for the sector at the moment”.
“We don’t believe the Commonwealth has done enough to support international students,” he said, noting WSU was considering reducing fees for international students.
Sydney University’s arts and social science faculty has been told to cut its courses by almost a third next semester to reduce the cost of casual staff as revenue plummets due to COVID-19.
Academics have been asked to target courses that were not essential to the progress of a degree, even if students had already enrolled in them.
Resources needed to be focused on core units to focus on the quality of subjects still on offer, and to save money “to ameliorate the impact of a downturn on staffing into 2021”, one school within the faculty was told in an email.
“The 30 per cent reduction will have impacts on student choice, staff teaching and the availability of casual work.”
A report compiled by the University of NSW Casuals Network showed that one in three casuals at the university had lost work this month, costing them an average of $626 a week, and 42 per cent were working unpaid hours.
Higher education workers do not qualify for the federal government’s JobKeeper scheme.
A spokeswoman for Sydney University said the reduction of courses offered by the arts and social sciences faculty was unrelated to COVID-19, and was designed to ensure the school could “operate sustainably in the medium to long term”.
The university had also asked managers to look at workloads. “We anticipate we will contract fewer casual teachers for semester two than previously projected. To date, we have no plans to terminate anyone’s employment,” she said.
Natassia is the education reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Jordan Baker is Education Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald