Regional Oz universities should target more overseas students

Australian universities located outside of major cities should be handed more resources to attract overseas students to study there.

That’s the view of a new research paper carried out by researchers from the University of Queensland. The paper found that international students who graduate from a ‘regional’ university are seven times more likely to work outside of the country’s main metropolitan areas than city-based students are.

“This could have particular importance in the way future policy might incentivise study in such ­locales that might take the form of introducing direct financial aid packages to reduce study costs or through modifying and extending existing (immigration) points through skilled migration visa ­applications,” the paper said.

The paper’s lead author Angela Tang, though, pointed out that while international students should be encouraged to study at smaller universities, smaller institutions may struggle to have the resources needed to cope with huge influxes of overseas students.

“That is a long-term plan. But the government could encourage international students who tend to concentrate in metropolitan areas to intern or work in regional areas during their studies by introducing, for example, funding to help with their relocation costs,” offered Dr Tang by way of a compromise. “This will help to develop a sense of attachment and build professional networks in rural areas, and these factors are likely to increase the likelihood to settle and work in these locations after graduation.”

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Article published 6th November 2014