UNIVERSITY of Newcastle vice-chancellor Alex Zelinsky says he is confident the institution can avoid losing millions of dollars in international student fees to the coronavirus crisis.
The federal government said on Friday it would extend by one week its travel ban preventing non-citizens or permanent residents arriving from mainland China.
Professor Zelinsky said Chinese students make up around 2000 of UON's 7700 international fee paying students - and about 1000 of this 2000 are still overseas.
This cohort, with each student paying an average $30,000 in annual fees - could represent a $30 million loss.
"It could be - if they didn't turn up," he said.
"We're reasonably confident that we'll be able to accommodate most, if not all, of our students who are overseas and when we've been in regular contact with them we haven't seen any students withdraw.
"We have not seen a mass stampede to the exits, not at all, they're very comforted by the fact we're willing to be flexible and work with them."
UON announced last week affected students enrolled in trimester one could study remotely and if they didn't pass, enrol again without academic or financial penalty.
Affected students enrolled in semester one can start after the April mid-semester break and progress in time for semester two.
They will be able to access work online and will be given, after they arrive, extra tuition and time for assessments and study.
UON is also considering introducing a "buddy system" in some courses to connect late-arriving Chinese students with domestic students.
There have been no confirmed cases among staff or students. A UON spokesperson said two staff who arrived before the cut-off have passed the isolation period and are well.
Two students who self-isolated are also well.
Professor Zelinsky said it appeared after talking to experts that the spread of coronavirus may be at or close to its peak and "over the next month we'll hopefully see people travelling again".
"This means we'll be able to get our students here, we think by mid April is a realistic worst case scenario, and so we don't think there's any need to panic."
He said nevertheless, UON had done financial modelling to prepare for a possible ban extension.
"It's all manageable, but we just know that not all the students would drop out, many may reschedule their studies, and I think this flexible term will get most if not all of them here," he said.
"Some universities are in more difficult situations than us, they have much bigger exposure.
"Also they're financially probably pressed.
"This university has zero debt and is running on surpluses, so we are financially sound, we're not overly exposed... we'll be fine."
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) Newcastle branch president Dr Emma Joel said union members "support the UON's management approach of prioritising the health and wellbeing of UON staff and students" and valued management's efforts to ensure everyone affected was safe and well supported.
"NTEU representatives have been in communication with UON management regarding potential impacts to staff workloads and working conditions," Dr Joel said.
"NTEU representatives will continue to work with management to ensure any adverse impacts are minimised and that management is regularly consulting with staff as the situation continues to evolve."