Falling international student numbers threatens viability of universities
The number of International Student Visa applications for higher education fell by 15,499 or 11.5% in 2009-10 compared to 2008-09, according to the most up to date information published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. This drop in international student visas applications clearly indicates Australia is becoming a less attractive study destination for international students.
“Falling international student visa applications not only threaten Australia’s $18b in education export earnings, it also has the very real potential to undermine the financial viability of some of our universities and other education providers such as public TAFE colleges who are becoming increasingly reliant on international student fee income,” Matt McGowan, NTEU Victorian Division Secretary, said today.
“The reasons for the fall in international student visa applications are no doubt many and varied and include the damage caused to Australia’s reputation from the reporting of attacks on international students, stricter regulations to weed out less reputable providers and reductions to announced cuts in net immigration by both parties in the 2010 Federal election.”
“The ‘Fortress Australia’ approach of both major parties is contributing to the negative perceptions of potential students overseas.”
“International student fee income is the second most important source of income for our universities and on average accounts for 15% of total income,”
“For a number of universities, including The University of Ballarat, RMIT University, Central Queensland University and Macquarie University, international fee income accounts for between ¼ and ½ of total income.”
“In other words, some of our universities and jobs at those universities are very vulnerable to any cuts in international student numbers.”
“NTEU calls on both Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard to change the tone of public debate about immigration and those seeking refuge from persecution, to commit to investing in the promotion of Australian education overseas and quarantining student visas from any planned reduction in net immigration.”
“In addition we are calling on both major parties to guarantee that public universities and public TAFEs will be compensated for any loss of international student fee income resulting from changes to government policy,” Mr McGowan said.
For further information and comment:
Matt McGowan, NTEU Victorian Division Secretary, 0417 054 110
Alex White, NTEU Communications & Campaigns Officer, 0403 694 397