Issue 9, Volume 18
Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell is an elite administrator, widely credited with saving the finances of the University of Melbourne from the worst of the COVID-19 fallout. This week, he’s spotted a new efficiency-improving move to cut overhead, and reinforce the $1,335,000,000 endowment of the University of Melbourne.
Like many tertiary institutions, the University of Melbourne has been struggling to make ends meet, as the costs of transitioning to online learning coincide with a reduction in revenue. Like so many of the University’s financial solutions of the last decade, the answer to this problem was to be found in the international student market.
‘Our analysts realised, that although the families of many international students enter crushing loan agreements in order to study send their children to Melbourne, many were actually willing to pay far more,’ explain Professor Maskell. ‘In fact, it is possible to milk tens-of-thousands from these spring chickens, a reasonable exchange for not stabbing them to death.’
This new ‘everybody wins’ approach to the international student market is nothing new for UniMelb, a trailblazer in this area. For years, international students have been able to pay enormous amounts of money, but also had the benefit of zero language and cultural support.
‘I love that at Melbourne, I get to sit in my cramped student apartment, and watch recorded lectures,’ said international student “Z”. ‘You know you’re getting your money’s worth, when each hour-long class costs twice the average daily income of the country I come from.’
International students already contribute handsomely to the UniMelb budget, however, up until now, extracting their money had been extremely inefficient. For example, in order to secure the tens-of-thousands in annual contributions each student brings, the University had been spending thousands on housing, integration services, and even tuition. Professor Maskell soon realised this wastefulness couldn’t go on.
‘We’re not suckers any longer,’ says Maskell, proudly, ‘for the price of a $5 knife, I can secure hundreds of thousands in revenue, and not have to draft a single ESF claim rejection email.’
Winston Baker is a news reporter for De Minimis.