Implications from a downturn in international students
The last decade has seen strong growth in international student enrolments in Australia with numbers more than doubling from 2002 to 2009.
In 2010 this upward trend came to an abrupt halt and, indeed, total international enrolments across all education sectors dropped. International students have provided Australian universities with an important revenue stream and allowed them to operate at greater scale and with associated benefits.
International student education has also provided an important pathway to skilled migration of highly qualified individuals to Australia - skilled migration which has been vital in supporting Australia’s broader economic performance.
This report for Universities Australia assesses the impact of the downturn in international student numbers, both for the higher education sector and the broader Australian economy. It models the downturn of international student enrolments over time and estimates that in net present value terms the reduction in GDP over the 2010-2020 modelling period will be $37.8 billion. The modelling also suggests that Australian employment will fall by over 45,000 through to 2020 due to the direct and spill over effects from international student enrolments.