Funding freeze forcing Australian Universities to refocus for growth.

Matt Henwood
Written by Matt Henwood | February 2018
Funding Freeze

Since 2012, Australian Universities have enjoyed significant growth. This typically stemmed from the Demand Driven Scheme (DDS) where Commonwealth support was uncapped.

Last December, the Higher Education sector was given an unwanted ‘present’ for Christmas. As of January 1, 2018, universities across Australia will receive (at most) the same amount of federal funding they received in 2017, regardless of future enrolment numbers.

No longer able to rely on increasing enrolments to grow revenue, universities now face the juggling act of growing student numbers while decreasing spending.



In order to maintain and continue to achieve growth, we pose the following three questions:

1. How can you optimise your core offering in order to produce job-ready graduates and ensure government-mandated performance metrics are met?

2. Where should you focus your sales and marketing efforts to increase targeted recruitment of postgraduate and international undergraduate students?

3. What set of actions are required to retain students, considering retention is now more important than ever?


Here are some ideas on how to tackle one of the three pressing questions – How to Increase Targeted Recruitment:


Focus on ‘Best Fit’ Students

Recruiting and retaining ‘best fit’ students should be the immediate focus for universities. Universities must ensure that the right students are being recruited to their schools and that the product is strong enough to reduce attrition rates.

Finding the ‘best fit’ students to market to – the most likely to apply, enrol and eventually graduate from a chosen university – will mean a reduction in marketing costs and an opportunity for increased revenue.

Focus Marketing Efforts

Universities will need to focus their marketing on these markets and ensure they have a strong offering as the international and postgraduate space becomes more competitive.

Strong course structures as a core offering are important for universities as these see them ready to hit government targets in 2020. Specific and optimised marketing will mean lower costs without lost revenue and larger class sizes of better quality.

These are also strong first steps to tackling attrition. Further attention on retention will see benefits through the freeze period and beyond.


GSG has worked with Australia’s leading universities and has been thinking about growth within this Sector for over 15 years. 

To discuss how we can help you tackle the three questions above and grow your student numbers, contact us on 03 9670 4700 or 

Previous post:

Discover how to grow your business.