The number of international students enrolling at Australian higher education institutions last year went up 12 percent compared to the previous year, according to data from the Department of Education and Training (DET).
The department’s figures, which show year-to-date (YTD) October 2016, also found that the number of commencements, or how many new students have enrolled onto a particular course at a particular institution, has increased by 11 percent.
However, as the statistics are based on numbers reported from institutions and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), the DEP offers the caveat that its numbers are considerably higher than the actual head count for a given period.
“International student enrolment data generally does not represent the number of overseas students in Australia or the number of student visas issued in different countries. Instead data counts actual course enrolments. The exception is the data at the beginning of a month which represents a close approximation to the number of students enrolled on that day,” it states.
This means that there are some cases where an individual student could be counted more than once if, for example, they enroll twice during the same reporting period (e.g. in an English language programme before moving on to a degree programme).
According to Inside Higher Ed, international students represent about 30 percent of total enrolments in Australia.
The DET reported that all of the country’s education sectors have seen growth up to October 2016, particularly higher education institutions (by 13 percent) and vocational programmes (by 12 percent). Together, they account for 70 percent of all international enrolments in that period.
If measured from 2013, international student enrolments have risen by 36 percent.
Based on the figures provided, around three in four foreign students currently studying in Australia are from Asian countries.
In fact, nine out of the top 10 countries sending students to Australia are in Asia, with Brazil being the only non-Asian nation.
Unsurprisingly, the country sending the most students to Australia is China, comprising 28 percent of all student enrolments from overseas.
However, the fastest growing markets over the past four years, from 2013 to 2016, are Brazil (65 percent growth), India (63 percent), and Nepal (58 percent).