Australia increasingly appealing to foreign students

New figures show that the number of foreign students attending Australian universities is likely to exceed those studying in higher education institutions in the United Kingdom.

This is the first time that this will have ever happened, and will place Australia as the second most popular country in terms of overseas student enrolments, behind only the US.

It is estimated that enrolments in Australia’s various higher education institutions are likely to reach 460,000 in 2019, up from 400,000 last year. Meanwhile, Britain’s Higher Education Statistics Agency, UK universities enrolled 458,500 non-British students in 2017-18, and this number is set to decline this year as ongoing political uncertainty and debate over Brexit adversely affect applications from foreign students.

“Until recently, the UK was the second most popular destination globally for international students. However, there has been little growth in the number of international students entering the UK since 2012,” says Professor Simon Marginson, a professor of higher education at the University of Oxford and director of the Centre for Global Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education.

““Recent data show that the gap between the UK and other countries [in foreign student enrolments] is shrinking and the UK may soon fall to third place,” he says.

Should Australia indeed replace the UK as the second most popular location for foreign students, then it will be quite some turnaround. As recently as 2015, the UK received 136,000 more international students than Australia. Australian universities have a made a real push to expand foreign student numbers in recent years. In the past five years alone, universities in the country have boosted their enrolments of foreign students by nearly 50 per cent.

“Over decades of investment, hard work and the commitment of world-class scholars, teachers and administrators, Australia has established a global reputation as a leader in higher education,” said Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan.

Article published 14th February 2019