The Australian National University will assess students based on Year 11 results, paving the way for an early recruitment round.
University chancellor Julie Bishop said offers would be made in August to about 3500 first-year students, with about 2500 expected to take up the offer to study.
The decision to base offers on Year 11 results recognised the fact that the states and territories were yet to make decisions about Year 12 exams and assessment, and was designed to take pressure off Year 12 students.
"The ANU recognises the enormous disruption and uncertainty for year 12 students and their families with the changes to studying during this response to this coronavirus," she said.
"It will give those wanting to study at the ANU next year certainty and hopefully remove much of the added stress and anxiety of undertaking year 12 studies this year with the disruption and changes that the coronavirus has wreaked on our education system."
Applications open on Thursday and close on May 25. Unconditional offers would be made in August, including the offer of accommodation on campus.
Students who wanted to their application to be based on their Year 12 results instead would have that option, she said.
The picture is less certain for ANU staff, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirming on Wednesday with the passage of the government's new Job Keeper wage subsidy that universities would be treated like businesses rather than charities.
That means that instead of qualifying for the $1500-a-fortnight subsidy for all staff once revenue is down 15 per cent, universities with a $1 billion turnover will only qualify if revenue is down 50 per cent.
Speaking while the legislation was still being debated, Ms Bishop said she was yet to hear a firm announcement from the government on the subsidy for universities.
"We are looking to see if we can apply for Job Keeper for our lecturers and staff because obviously we would want to retain as many of our world-class teaching and research staff as we are able," she said.
Asked what would happen if the university didn't get the payment, she said, "It would obviously mean that we would have to assess how many staff we could keep on."
But she said the university was doing what it could in an evolving situation to keep staff, with no job losses this year.
"The government is yet to make a firm announcement about an overall response to the university's concerns, so we will obviously be focusing on ensuring we can keep all our staff. My concern is the years beyond 2021, 2022."
Ms Bishop said the balance sheet was "very robust". To date, the university had kept 85 per cent of its international students through remote learning programs, with all its teaching now online, and the university's biggest source of revenue was research funding.
While there would be a budget hit from fewer students, the full impact would not be seen till next year and the year after, and would depend on whether Australia was able to allow international students back in. It was possible other countries which had been hit harder by the virus early on would open their borders sooner and attract students elsewhere, she said.
"So at this stage the ANU is coping. We remain engaged with the federal government but at this stage we are continuing to operate on our current revenue streams."
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson has warned that more than 21,000 jobs are at risk across the sector in the next six months without support.
Universities faced a $3 billion to $4.6 billion revenue hit, she said.
University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt told the Sydney Morning Herald that universities would be permanently "transformed by the crisis.
Universities must make hard decisions to ensure they were fit for purpose in 2022 and beyond, he said.
"We can just plug a hemorrhage here and plug a hemorrhage there and then we'll end up with something, but it surely won't be what is in the national interest," he said.
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