fbpx
Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
19th Dec 2017

Australia takes its double-digit growth into final quarter of 2017

The latest data out of Australia shows continuing growth in international enrolment into the final quarter of the year. The Department of Education and Training (DET) numbers for year-to-date October 2017 show overall enrolment growth of 13%, with just over 11% growth in commencements. This is slightly off the pace that Australia had established earlier this year, but still puts the country on track for another solid year of double-digit growth. DET reports total foreign enrolment of 766,483 students YTD October 2017. This compares to just under 680,000 international students in Australia for the same period in 2016. As the following chart reflects, total commencements, meanwhile, reached nearly 423,000 through October 2017, compared to just over 380,000 the year before. summary-international-student-enrolment-statistics-for-australia-year-to-date-october-2017 Summary international student enrolment statistics for Australia, year-to-date October 2017. Source: DET The higher education and vocational education and training (VET) sectors continue to account for the bulk of the growth in Australia this year. Both sectors have booked year-over-year growth of 15% or better for both commencements and overall enrolment through October 2017. Most of that growth in higher education – about 85%, in fact – was driven by China, India, and Nepal. India figures prominently in VET enrolments as well, and remains the leading source market for Australia’s vocational training providers. However, Indian enrolment is flat this year relative to 2016, and we see instead that other markets, notably Nepal, Malaysia, China, and Brazil, are driving much of the growth in VET in 2017. In contrast, ELICOS numbers continue to lag other sectors through October, with 4% growth for both overall enrolment and commencements. In terms of recent-month performance, overall ELICOS commencements returned to marginal growth for the month of October, after two relatively poor months in August and September during which 2017 commencements lagged behind 2016 benchmarks. China is again the leading source country for ELICOS providers this year. It accounts for nearly three in ten English language students in Australia overall, and, along with Brazil and Colombia, is driving most of the growth in ELICOS numbers through October. We should note as well, however, that ELICOS head count only tells part of the story. In 2016, there was a significant increase in student-weeks for ELICOS courses in Australia, a growth rate that considerably outpaced the increase in enrolment for the year. A lot of that growth in terms of course weeks can be attributed to some underlying changes in the composition of ELICOS enrolment last year, particularly increasing numbers of students from the Americas and from emerging markets in Asia. It will be interesting now to see if that pattern persists for 2017.

The diversity question

In spite of this very positive growth picture, the composition of Australia’s foreign enrolment this year will again raise questions about the sustainability of current growth rates as well as the country’s reliance on a relatively small field of key sending markets. Needless to say, this is a challenge facing many leading study destinations. But in Australia we see that the top ten source markets account for roughly seven in ten foreign students in the country. The top five senders are responsible for more than half (53%) of all international enrolments, and the top two – China and India – account for 40% all by themselves. The same pattern plays out in terms of commencements, where China and India remain the leading source of new foreign students in Australia and where the two countries combined account for about half of all commencement growth through October. Australian providers are clearly working hard to diversify enrolments, particularly via important growth markets in Asia and Latin America, including Vietnam, Nepal, Brazil, and Colombia. But even so the country’s current heavy reliance on China and India will likely remain an element of risk in the overall enrolment picture for Australia for the foreseeable future. And as Australia’s international numbers continue to grow, the stakes are ever higher in this respect. As we noted recently, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has calculated the value of the country’s education exports to be AUS$28.6 billion (US$22 billion) for 2016/17. This places education as the third-largest export sector for Australia, and ABS calculates that international education now supports 130,000 jobs throughout the country. For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Australia’s “blueprint for change” for higher education calls for a more diverse and balanced international enrolment Read More
  • Australian unis brace for risk assessment as visa rejections continue Read More
  • Former edtech unicorn’s stock price plunges as universities take DIY approach to online learning Read More

Most Popular

  • Canada’s foreign enrolment grew by more than 30% in 2022 Read More
  • Measuring cost of study and cost of living across study destinations Read More
  • Recruiting in the Emirates: Big goals, world-class education, and new scholarships Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Australia’s “blueprint for change” for higher education calls for a more diverse and balanced international enrolment After just over a year of consultation and review, 820 written submissions, 180 meetings, and a hotly debated...
Read more
Australian unis brace for risk assessment as visa rejections continue Australia’s education providers continue to grapple with a significant spike in visa rejections. As many as 1 in...
Read more
Former edtech unicorn’s stock price plunges as universities take DIY approach to online learning The edtech giant 2U is experiencing market and financial pressures severe enough that earlier this month it warned...
Read more
Malaysia opens new post-study visa option for degree graduates Effective 1 December 2023, Malaysia introduced a package of new visa settings designed to make it easier for...
Read more
New policies, Erasmus+, and booming tourism boost Spain’s international education sector New government policies in Spain – as well as a changed competitive context in the broader international education...
Read more
Dutch universities detail plan to reduce international enrolment The Dutch government spent most of last year signalling its concern about the rapid growth of international student...
Read more
Australia: Visa rejection rates spike as some institutions withdraw admissions offers under new migration settings Australia’s new migration strategy – announced in late 2023 and in effect now – has led to significant...
Read more
Demand for study abroad rising in China but students considering more destinations in 2024 The shape of Chinese outbound student mobility has been changing for years and is different again in 2024....
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links