LA TROBE University has rejected reports it's at risk of going broke, but admits it's facing a significant financial shortfall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Age newspaper reported the university's cash reserves were reduced to the minimum required to meet a single month's operating expenses.
But a La Trobe spokesperson said the reporting was incorrect.
"The university is not at risk of going broke," the spokesperson said.
"The university is in productive and on-going discussions with its three banks for increased facilities that we believe will meet our funding requirements in the short term.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the entire higher education sector facing financial shortfall and uncertainty, and La Trobe is no exception."
The La Trobe spokesperson said the university was facing a significant loss of revenue this year and in 2021 and 2022.
The university saved $87 million in 2020 costs, the spokesperson said, including through initiating a voluntary redundancy program.
The program is expected to deliver $20 million in savings this year, and $40 million in 2021 and 2022.
The university said more savings would come if staff adopted the Jobs Protection Framework.
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor John Dewar said the framework could save the university $30 million in 2020 - the financial equivalent of 200 jobs.
The framework was put to about 250 La Trobe National Tertiary Education Union members at a meeting last week, where the motion to carry the framework was defeated.
The NTEU is this week taking the framework to all union members at La Trobe for a ballot vote. The framework will then be put to all La Trobe staff members.
"The university will continue to implement cost saving measures in the short and longer term," the spokesperson said.
"Where possible, we will endeavour to minimise job losses so that La Trobe can continue to make a profound difference to the lives of our students, our partners, and our communities."
Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said while she understood La Trobe was trying to reassure its staff and students, the situation at the university was still "dire".
"It doesn't escape the fact that they will have a significant hit to their bottom line," Ms Chesters said. "The entire sector is in trouble.
"It doesn't stop the fact that they are going to make 300 to 400 people redundant. These jobs, these positions, are critical to our regional campuses and to our suburbs in Melbourne."
Universities Australia modelling, released on Wednesday, predicted the national university sector could lose $16 billion in revenue in the next three years.
Ms Chesters said the federal government needed to do more to help universities.
"I'm calling on the federal government to urgently intervene and help save La Trobe University," she said. "This goes directly to the fault of the government.
"They introduced JobKeeper to help save jobs, to help save businesses from going into this financial stress yet they have actively excluded universities, putting thousands of jobs at risk and putting campuses like Bendigo at risk.
"Without federal government intervention, without a rescue package, without direct funding to the university sector or access to a program like JobKeeper, they will struggle going forward."
But Ms Chesters said she was hopeful La Trobe's Bendigo campus would survive the financial crisis.
"I believe that this campus will have a future but I do worry about the impact that this will have on other regions and regional campuses," she said.
"Our regional campuses are more than just where people study. They are, in many ways, the good jobs in regions.
"They are ensuring that local kids have an opportunity to go to university. There are thousands of regional kids who would not have gone to university if this campus did not exist."
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