Students walking to classes on UOW's Wollongong Campus.

A year of growth and accomplishment

A year of growth and accomplishment

2023 Annual Report: Despite challenges, University delivered strong results in teaching and research

The University of Wollongong’s 2023 Annual Report, tabled in NSW Parliament on Monday, shows UOW is delivering on its core missions of teaching and research.

Despite the economic headwinds UOW continued to deliver on its strategic goals of empowering students for their future, creating knowledge for a better world and making a difference for our communities.

Chancellor Mr Michael Still thanked staff, students and the University community for their dedication and contribution to UOW’s success.

“Reflecting on a year marked by growth and accomplishments, we recognise the dedication of our staff, students and the invaluable support from our partners, alumni, and donors. Their contributions have shaped our identity as a progressive, welcoming and vibrant institution,” Mr Still said.

Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor David Currow said UOW plays a crucial role in education and research, but also as a vital contributor to the economic and social fabric of our communities.

“Our commitment to excellence is evident in our teaching and learning, improved global rankings results, and strong indicators of student satisfaction and graduate outcomes,” Professor Currow said.

Showcasing a strong performance in teaching, undergraduate overall satisfaction rose to 80.4 per cent (from 78.2 for the previous year), and UOW graduates scored 87.3 per cent for employer overall satisfaction (5th nationally, 2nd in NSW) in the QILT Employer Satisfaction Survey.

UOW’s achievements in delivering impactful research were reflected in the inaugural Australian Financial Review Best Universities Rankings (7th), and in the global university rankings, including the QS World University Rankings (162nd), QS World Sustainability Rankings (62nd), Times Higher Education Impact Rankings (61st).

Financial result

The 2023 financial result reflects a challenging year with UOW still in a recovery phase from the pandemic’s impacts on revenue and expenditure and operating in an economy faced with high inflation, increasing interest rates and uncertain international conditions.

The headline result for the University was a deficit of $95.1 million on consolidated income of $820.7 million. The result, however, was impacted by several abnormal items. If these are excluded the adjusted result is a $15.5 million deficit.

The abnormal items were:

  • a one-off non-cash impairment on the value of UOW College Hong Kong’s Tai Wai campus of $44.4 million due to a greater than expected decline in UOWCHK student enrolments from 2015 to 2023,
  • a $24.8 million reversal of an income tax franking credit refund derived from the restructure of Education Australia and IDP Education in 2021, and
  • provision for staff pay remediation costs of $10.4 million (not ongoing).

The write down on the value of the Tai Wai campus is a non-cash item and does not affect UOW’s financial sustainability and may be unwound should student numbers increase.

The Australian Taxation Office decision to disallow the franking credit refund affects all Australian public universities and UOW has joined with other universities in challenging the decision.

The abnormal items do not affect the underlying position or financial sustainability of the University. UOW maintains a significant asset base with satisfactory cash reserves.

The total income for 2023 of $820.7 million is a 7 per cent increase on the previous year ($767.4 million).