Mindanao Times

Coronaviru­s could cost Australian universiti­es ‘billions’


THE CORONAVIRU­S outbreak could deliver a painful multi-billion-dollar hit to Australian universiti­es, as high-paying Chinese students are forced to defer their studies, economists warned Thursday.

Top universiti­es stand to lose around US$2 billion (Aus$3 billion) in fees alone, according to preliminar­y estimates from analysts at Standard & Poor’s.

Under open-ended travel restrictio­ns imposed by the government in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronaviru­s, non-Australian citizens or permanent residents who have been in China since February 1 are not allowed into Australia.

The virus’s outbreak came in between Australia’s academic years -- which begin in February -- and as many of the country’s roughly 165,000 Chinese university students had returned home for the Lunar New Year.

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