Growing pains hit SCUs bottom line

BETWEEN a new pool and medical centre at its Lismore campus, and an entire new campus on the Gold Coast, last financial year was a demanding one for Southern Cross University.

According to its annual report, the works appear to have eateninto the university’s bottom line, compared with the previous year.

But SCU’s director of financial and business services, Michael Carter, said the multi-campusuniversity was in good financial shape.

“I know on the face value of the financials it appears to be quite a reduction, but it’s more in relation to accounting than how the uni-versity performed,” he said.

SCU reported a consolidated net operating surplus of $2.06 million for the year ending December 2009, significantly down from the previous year’s $14.07 million. Its net operating profit also took a hit, posting $2.99 million, down from $14.33 million.

“In the 2008 result there werea number of grants included in revenue that were once-off capital grants,” Mr Carter said.

“There was also a certain level of expenditure related to the pool at the Lismore campus and the medical centre that we can’t capitalise on.”

Mr Carter said when these one-offs were taken into account the underlying result was similar for the two years.

“Financially the university is running quite well,” he said. “We are number two out of 10 universities in NSW that have met the fin-ancial performance benchmark that is set by the Government.

“In fact, 2009 was quite a good year – we over-enrolled on our Federal Government supported (domestic) students by 6.3pc.

“Total student numbers across all campuses grew by 3.4pc, compared with the nation average of 2.6pc.

“This year our (domestic) enrolments are looking very favourable again and while it is a little early to tell, it looks like we will over-enrol again.”

A report released last year estimated the value of the university to the economies of the Northern Rivers, Coffs Harbour, Gold Coast and Tweed Heads was $483 million.

The same report found the university created 2774 direct and indirect jobs across its footprint.



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