International student gold rush

by Paul Bidmeade

A higher education global report has revealed that Australia is the third most popular student destination in the world.

There are 257,637 international students studying in Australian universities.

Locally, University of South Australia ranked seventh in Australia with 12,072 international students enrolled at the university. This made up 34 per cent of UniSA’s total enrolments.

Coming in at 17th place was the University of Adelaide, which had 6,964 international enrolments, while Flinders University had 3,381 international students in 32nd place.

Both SA Premier Jay Weatherill and State Opposition Leader Steven Marshall have stressed the importance of international education to SA’s economy.


In the lead up to the March 2014 election, Mr Weatherill gave Migration Solutions an exclusive outline of the SA Labor government’s migration policy. “Adelaide continues to attract high numbers of international students with more than 28,000 international students coming here in 2012, generating 6500 local jobs,”

“We now hold 5.5 per cent of the market share – up from 4 per cent in 2002 and this activity injected $879 million into our economy last financial year, making international education our largest service export industry and sixth largest export overall,” Mr Weatherill said.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall shared a different view about the numbers.

“Our current share of the international student market nationally is only 5.5 per cent. That’s well below our 7.2 per cent share of the national population,” Mr Marshall said.

“If elected next month, I will set a goal to lift international student numbers from 28,000 to 40,000 in ten years,” he said.

If by 2024 SA could reach Mr Marshall’s international student goal of 40,000, international education would inject $1.25 Billion into SA.

Since last year’s state election International students have contributed to 6 per cent of SA’s state revenue and made over $239 million worth of revenue for SA’s three universities.

With an emphasis on attracting more international students in the Federal Governments’ latest ‘National Strategy for International Education,’ it’s hoped that South Australia reaps the rewards from more international students.

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