Canberra's Australian National University and the University of NSW are planning major staff cuts in a bid to slash spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Up to 250 ANU staff have already taken voluntary redundancies but the university will cut a further 215 staff over the next nine months.
ANU has confirmed it will initially seek further voluntary redundancies but will proceed to forced cuts if necessary.
UNSW, which has also accepted voluntary redundancies, will cut a further 256 staff as it deals with similar cost pressures.
Universities have taken hits to their revenue from a sharp fall in international student enrolments related to the pandemic.
ANU is seeking to cut spending by more than $100 million a year until 2023 and will target both academic and non-academic employees.
Staff had already agreed to defer pay rises this year and in 2021, a decision which the university says resulted in 90 jobs being saved.
In an open letter to staff on Wednesday, ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said while many sacrifices had already been made, it hadn't been enough.
"The stark reality is: we need to save money, and this will mean spending a lot less, both on our non-salary expenditure, but also on salaries," he wrote.
"This is not a course of action we wanted to take, but it is our only viable option going forward if we want to remain a sustainable, stable university."
Mr Schmidt has agreed to again take a pay cut in 2021.
UNSW vice-chancellor Ian Jacobs told staff the university had dealt with 80 per cent of a $370 million financial gap estimated for 2021 but an additional $39 million in savings still needed to come from salaries.
"I deeply regret the impact on staff who will lose their jobs," he wrote.
"All staff affected in this way will receive a redundancy package and we will do all that we can to assist them with the next steps in their career."
The National Tertiary Education Union estimated more than 11,000 jobs had been lost at Australian campuses in recent months, adding that many could have been prevented if university workers had been made eligible for JobKeeper.
"NTEU cannot understand how the government can just sit idly watching thousands and thousands of jobs disappearing from higher education," NTEU president Alison Barnes said.
ANU will also look to limit use of consultants and contractors, reduce travel and pursue flexible working arrangements.
It is expected to have a net reduction of 325 staff once expected recruitment is taken into account.
Staff will be consulted in coming weeks and the university will reveal its plans for particular colleges and portfolios next month.
The university's council said it was on track to meet its target of retaining $250 million by the end of 2020 to ensure it can pay its expenses including salaries and bills.
Perth-based Curtin University and Murdoch University, along with the University of Sydney, also flagged job cuts last month.
Australian Associated Press