Growth continues for Australia's international education sector

Australia's international education sector is continuing to expand beyond last year's record-breaking figures, according to the latest data release from the Department of Education and Training.

The year-to-date international student data for July 2017 show that that there were 564,869 student visa-holding international students in Australia, a 15 per cent increase compared with the same period of the previous year.


In the first seven months of 2017, there have been 685,499 international student enrolments, with every sector of the industry experiencing an increase, most notably the largest segment - higher education  - which increased by 17 per cent compared with same period of the previous year to 336,902 enrolments.


The VET (vocational) and non-award sectors also grew by 17 per cent, while secondary schools saw a 12 per cent jump in enrolments and Elicos English language centres increased the number of student visa holders by seven per cent.


The Department of Education and Training (DET) advises that enrolments are generally higher than the total number of students because students can enrol on more than one course of study in a calendar year.


China represented 29 per cent of all enrolments in the year-to-date July figures, followed by India (11), Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam (all four per cent). All five registered increases compared with the same point in 2016.


As well as China, which increased enrolments by 20 per cent, double-digit growth also came from Nepal (53 per cent), Colombia (30) and Brazil (28)


As previously reported, last year was a record peak for Australia's international education sector for total numbers of international students and commencements.


Language school peak body English Australia recently published detailed analysis of the half-year (to June) 2017 data issued by DET, highlighting that Brazil (33 per cent), China (13.5), Spain (23) and Colombia (13) all posted strong growth.


In contrast, Vietnam declined by 33 per cent, and there were also decreases from Thailand (14) and Korea (12).


The DET data captures only student visa-holding students; approximately one third of students for Elicos schools are on other visas, typically visitor visas or working holiday visas.


DET publishes monthly reports tracking international student numbers and commencements.


StudyTravel Magazine annually surveys Australia's English language schools and secondary schools, providing insights on student nationality, marketing spend, course type, student age and recruitment channels, including agents. In the most recent survey, published in July 2017, agents accounted for 86 per cent of enrolments at participating schools.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor