Media release: Universities 2018 audits

The Acting Auditor-General of New South Wales, Ian Goodwin, released a report today on the results of financial audits of NSW universities for the year ended 31 December 2018.

All ten NSW universities received unqualified audit opinions.

The combined revenues for all NSW universities increased to $10.7 billion in 2018, with expenses also increasing to $9.5 billion. Expenses grew at a higher rate than revenue, contributing to a 17 per cent decrease in universities combined operating margin per student. 

Revenue from overseas students continued to grow faster than that from domestic students. Overseas students contributed just over 60 per cent of all NSW universities’ student revenues. The increasing dependency of some universities on revenue from students from a single country of origin makes them more susceptible to changes in the economic and/or political environment.

Information technology remained the most common source of control weaknesses in our 2018 audits. 

The report makes recommendations to the NSW universities, aimed at strengthening controls over cyber security and validating published performance information. The report also recommends NSW universities strengthen their oversight of their overseas controlled entities' legal and policy compliance functions.

Further information

Barry Underwood, Director, Office of the Auditor-General, on 9275 7101, 0403 073 664 and email