Canberra's Australian National University is one of several Australian universities to have taken a hit, in the latest survey of global brand awareness in the tertiary education sector.
The Times Higher Education have demoted the ANU from 42nd to between 61-71st position in their annual reputation rankings, released on Thursday.
Australia now has only five institutions in the prestigious study rather than six - with Monash University falling out of the top-100 rankings altogether.
The survey is based on the feedback of 10,000 academics worldwide and is touted as “the definitive list of the top-100 most powerful global university brands.” The ranking are released as a list of the top-50 institutions, with institutions after the 50th ranking falling into bands of ten thereafter.
The downgrading comes at a time when domestic enrolments at ANU have increased by 17 per cent with international enrolments up by eight per cent.
And the ANU isn’t the only university to record a backward slide in the rankings. Sydney University fell out of the top-50 while the University of Queensland now ranks between 90-100th despite placing between 71-81st last year.
The University of Melbourne remained the most stable Australian institution falling only four spots from 39th to 43rd.
Times Higher Education rankings editor Phil Baty has suggested that Australia’s poor performance this year may be due to May 2013 budget cuts, which were announced in the middle of the survey period.
“Right at the very time people were being asked to evaluate universities around the world there was a fairly dramatic piece of news coming out of Australia with negative implications,” he said.
The 2013-14 budget included $2.3 million of cuts from Australian universities via an efficiency dividend, converting student scholarships to loans and scrapping discounts for HECS payouts.
Mr Baty said “it was a genuinely surprising result this year as we saw Australia as a whole slipping down the table."
Australia is now equal fourth with Japan on country standings, trailing leaders the United States with 46 ranked institutions and the UK and Germany.
An ANU spokesperson declined to comment.