Australian higher education system is experiencing a devastating financial hit this year as overseas students from core markets migrate to more open borders, particularly Canada and the COVID-ravaged United Kingdom.
University vice-chancellors and overseas educators announced that students in India, Nepal, and China, initially bound for Australia, began making other arrangements this month because they would like to study on a real campus instead of online.
According to higher education researcher Peter Hurley from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute, losses to the overseas student industry, worth $40 billion in 2019, would be consequential.
Nearly 51,000 new international and returning students came to Australia in October 2019 and added $40 billion to the Australian economy, including in the real estate and retail sectors. The number of new students had dropped to just 130 in October 2020.
Student recruitment IDP Connect surveyed over 5,000 overseas students and found that over half of applicants for Australian and New Zealand universities considered switching to a different destination.
A Federal Ministry of Education, skill and Employment’s spokesperson said that new arrivals of students “can only be considered when Australians wishing to come back to Australia have returned in substantial numbers.”
Students prefer to take opportunities from the UK since borders are open. Even when COVID threatens students and parents, they offer priority to entering the country and beginning studies in the UK regardless of COVID risks.
Mr. Honeywood said the prime competitor countries of Australia, such as Canada and the United Kingdom had “done well at our expense” and provided straight-forward and transparent information on returning and new foreign students. “What we require from our government is an indicative date which students, their parents, and their educational institutions can work for,” he added. “Which will provide hope when basically what they get is mixed messages.”