The number of international students studying in Australia jumped 21 per cent last year, the biggest rise since 2002, Education Minister Julia Gillard says.
A record 543,898 international students attended Australian institutions in 2008, the first time the figure exceeded 500,000 in a calendar year.
But it’s too early to know what impact the global financial crisis will have on 2009 enrolments.
The majority of international students in Australia attend universities and TAFEs.
The higher education sector grew by 4.7 per cent last year, new Australian Education International data reveals.
Enrolments by Asian students was up 21.5 per cent, with China providing
the greatest overall figure of 127,276 enrolments in 2008.
“The increase in student enrolments from Asia is recognition of Australia’s ongoing relationship with our Asian neighbours, and the strong awareness of Australia as a quality education destination around the world,” Ms Gillard said in a statement.
The impact of the global financial crisis on international enrolments in 2009 would become clearer in the next few weeks, the education minister said.
“(But) it is encouraging to hear a number of Australian education institutions reporting continuing strong interest from international students wishing to study in Australia.”
International education contributed $14.2 billion to the economy in 2007-08; making it Australia’s third-largest export behind coal and iron ore.
February 26, 2009