Exports from Australia’s international education services sector – two-thirds of it comprising income from international higher education students – reached a record high of $18.8 billion in 2014-15, the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data has shown.
According to the Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator Richard Colbeck, the figures eclipsed the previous peaks of $17.6 billion in calendar year 2014 and $16.3 billion in financial year 2013-14.
He said: “Education services exports for 2014-15 increased by 15% on the 2013-14 figure, which shows our booming international education sector continues to go from strength to strength.”
The figures confirmed that international education remains Australia’s largest services export and its third-largest export overall after iron ore and coal, he said.
“International education is also a major generator of jobs, with the sector supporting over 130,000 jobs in cities and regions throughout Australia,” he said. “The government is determined to ensure the international education sector continues to be one of the major strengths of the Australian economy.”
The vast majority of the income, $18.2 billion, was contributed by the nearly half a million students who chose to study in Australia over this period. International students in the higher education sector generated $12.5 billion in export income, while students in the vocational education and training sector produced $2.9 billion.
In addition, roughly $600 million was generated from a range of international education services delivered by Australian providers offshore.
Senator Colbeck said the international education sector also helps to forge vital diplomatic, business and research links between Australia and key trading partner countries around the world.