Torrens University’s $800 million economic impact

The economic and social value of Torrens University Australia

A new report from Deloitte Access Economics highlights the growing economic and social value of Torrens University (including Think Education) to Australia.

Media release | 21 March 2024

As Torrens University Australia celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2024, a Deloitte Access Economics report has highlighted the growing economic and social value of Torrens University (including Think Education) to Australia.

Highlights from the Deloitte Access Economics report

  • $468.9m value added to the Australian economy in 2022, and $338m in public benefits
  • 3,049 FTE jobs supported by operations and student spending
  • Exceeding or equalling national averages for participation among lower SES, rural and regional and First Nations students, and women in non-traditional courses

In 2022, Torrens University contributed more than $800 million in economic impact to the Australian economy, comprised of $468.9 million total value added via operations, onshore international students, and induced tourism from students’ visiting friends and relatives, and $338 million in public benefits from an estimated 14,400 Torrens University graduates working in Australia.

Torrens University’s operations and international student spending supported 3,049 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in 2022.

The $468.9 million total value added is predominantly shared across South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland where Torrens University’s campuses are located.

The Deloitte report also highlighted Torrens University’s contribution to economic participation and workforce diversity by excelling in participation among key equity cohorts identified as critical to meeting the Universities Accord’s target of 80% of the working age population having a tertiary qualification by 2050.

Department of Education data for 2022 shows that one in four of Torrens University’s domestic students (25%) were from a lower socio-economic status, relative to 17% nationally and 12% among the Group of Eight institutions. Regional and remote students comprised 19% of Torrens University’s domestic enrolments, in line with the national average and more than double the 9% among the Group of Eight. First Nations students accounted for 3% of Torrens University’s domestic enrolments, relative to 2% nationally and 1% among the Group of Eight. Women in non-traditional courses (including STEM and architecture) comprised 26% of Torrens University’s enrolments, compared to the 16% national average.

“Torrens University’s success in encouraging participation among key equity cohorts reflects our goal to provide open, accessible education for all, and as the only B Corp certified university in the Southeast Asia region to ensure that our private enterprise is delivering public good,” Alwyn Louw, Vice-Chancellor of Torrens University Australia will tell the HEDx ‘Changing Higher Education for Good’ conference in Melbourne today.

“It also demonstrates the important role the independent higher education sector has to play in helping to deliver the ambitious vision of significantly increased participation set out in the Universities Accord final report, without significant government investment.”

Ahead of her fireside chat at HEDx ‘Changing Higher Education for Good’ conference in Melbourne today, Linda Brown, President of Torrens University Australia, lamented the missed opportunity in the Universities Accord’s lack of focus on the private sector.

“Since opening our doors with 165 students in 2014, Torrens University has grown to over 24,000 enrolments in 2022 – Australia’s fastest growing university since 2017 - and we’ve graduated more than 40,000 students in Australia over that time without any substantial government investment.

“While every single one of those graduations is an important story of achievement and progress for that student, their family and their community, collectively we have contributed $800 million to the Australian economy in 2022 and supported more than 3,000 FTE jobs which is an extraordinary impact and demonstrates what innovative thinking and investment can bring to the higher education sector.”

“Furthermore, this report does not include Torrens’ incredible research outcomes and impact, which we look forward to also reporting on in more detail.”

In looking ahead to the next ten years for Torrens University and higher education in Australia, Ms Brown challenged the sector, and the government, to imagine what a university could be like - not should be like – through being truly student-centric, allied with industry, and at the forefront of technology and innovation.

The Deloitte Access Economic report ‘The economic and social value of Torrens University Australia’ is available here.

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