According to the minister for skills and tertiary education Geoff Lee and treasurer Dominic Perrottet, the loan guarantee scheme would help bridge the gap between the Commonwealth government’s higher education relief package and what NSW universities require to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“Current international travel restrictions have seen a significant decrease in international student enrolments in semester one, and it is expected this will decline further in the coming months,” Mr Lee said.
“This scheme builds on our $20-million package providing temporary crisis accommodation for stranded international students, and our extension of payroll tax deferrals to universities worth approximately $100 million.”
Mr Perrottet said universities applying for loan guarantees will be asked to show how they intend to restructure their operations to make them more sustainable.
“Our state’s public universities directly employ over 15,200 academic staff and more than 18,700 professional staff, including full-time equivalent casual staff, and they support thousands of indirect jobs,” he said.
“It is critical we position our universities for a dynamic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
“The government will work with the sector on building a more sustainable international student market. We want to help universities identify new partnerships that create jobs and stimulate economic growth, and collaborate in research priorities through the Waratah Research Network.”
Universities can also apply for funding from the $25-million package for medical research and vaccine trials to help develop a cure for COVID-19 and $11-million COVID research translation fund.
According to Mr Lee, NSW universities have around 301,000 domestic and 121,000 international university students. About 30 per cent of Australia’s international university students attend one of NSW’s 10 public universities.
“Universities play a key role in the economic strength and productivity of our state, supporting jobs and delivering skilled graduates, research and innovation. Healthy universities will be essential for NSW to recover from COVID-19,” Mr Lee said.
[Related: Government unveils housing stimulus]
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Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.