Universities’ international student binge pushes locals out

In the 2019 calendar year, international student arrivals hit a record high 620,000 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, up from 380,000 in 2014:

Total international student enrolments across Australia’s various educational institutions also hit a record high 957,000, according to the Department of Education:

The biggest driver of this growth were Australia’s universities (‘higher education’), where international student enrolments ballooned to a record high 442,000 in 2019:

As reported by professor Salvatore Babones last year, Australia in 2017 had by far the highest concentration of international students at its universities in the developed world at roughly 2.5 times second place United Kingdom and three times third-placed Canada:

Moreover, 27% of total enrolments at Australia’s universities in 2017 were international students:

Thus, given the extreme growth experienced in the two years to 2019, Australia’s concentration of international students has likely grown even further, likely nearing 30% of total enrolments.

With this background in mind, it is rather galling to hear the universities warn that there will not be enough places available in the future for domestic students:

Australia’s university system is not equipped for an approaching baby boom…

By 2025, 40,000 more people will be reaching university age every year and 60,000 more by 2030.

Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt said on Thursday the country would need to add “five ANUs or two UNSWs” to keep up with surging demand, which will start to hit in 2023.

“Higher education policy doesn’t necessarily lose you elections but I think it has the potential to if, for example, people who think they are going to university en masse are suddenly not able to,” Professor Schmidt told an audience at the Universities Australia conference…

ANU higher education researcher Andrew Norton said domestic university participation rates could rapidly drop from a bit over 40 per cent to the mid-30s if the system did not adapt to the impending baby boom.

“What that is going to mean is that people who have done relatively well [in school] will find they receive no offers whatsoever of a university place,” he said…

Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, said there was “some flexibility” to increase capacity in existing institutions but more education opportunities were needed, especially with jobs of the future requiring a university education.

With a record 442,000 university places taken up by international students in 2019, there should be more than enough spaces available to satisfy future domestic demand.

Heck, even if international student enrolments only retraced to 2013 levels, there would be an additional 210,000 places made available for domestic students.

In any event, far too many young Australians attend university anyway and the nation would be better served by more studying a trade or attending TAFE.

Having university participation rates fall to the mid-30s from over 40% would be a good result.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Looks like everything is going to plan to me. Last thing the china wants is an educated intelligent Australian population. It will be that much easier for them to influence and corruption politicians all the while being cheer on by the sheeple Aussies have become. Plus they won’t need education when they become become the servers and waiters of the foriengers as they take over.

  2. far too many young Australians attend university

    Having university participation rates fall to the mid-30s from over 40% would be a good result.

    Absolutely. And the VC admits:

    they are going to university en masse

    Stop them!

    • mass attendance reduces youth unemployment
      imagine attendance rate being half so 500k more students are unemployed, and additional 50k to 100k currently employed in education and around unemployed

      eastern block used to have similar tactic in 70s and 80s but they opted to make completing uni very hard effectively keeping students at uni for 7 or 10 years

      • Exactly, Uni has just become a giant creche for young adults. Another one of the rodents plans to take youth unemployment off the books.

    • It may not be a bad outcome – more than half the courses at Uni are bullsh*t courses and an utter waste of time and money. People need to think a little bit harder about what they want to do and how to go about it – and if they don’t, then go abroad and travel a bit. Release your mother’s apron strings and grow up FFS

  3. Since government support for domestic places was capped a couple of years ago, the domestic market has lost interest to VCs. Domestic students are taken for granted. It all became about chasing international students. If domestic students were thought about it was only to shift students away from expensive course like science and engineering, toward inexpensive like arts and law. Unintended consequences reigns. Now universities have been taken over by social justice ‘engineers’ they were never happy with supporting STEM subjects anyway, so a double win to them. Universities are lost.
    Time to start again.

  4. I think there’s a different message there. The solution is to identify areas within about 40-50km of Sydney and Melbourne CBD, have it declared as a special regional area and allow a number of Universities to put campuses there for about 100,000 students each. Think of all the additional profits and property values for savvy investors.

  5. Universities’ international student binge pushes locals out

    I hear what you are saying.
    Just the other day my niece was complaining that she could not get into any good university teach training programs, she done good in her HSC last year, I know she got an ATAR above 40 (in our family that makes her a bloody genius) but there are no spots at uni for her and it’s all because of the immigrants, it just makes my blood boil.
    The next generation of Aussies will need to learn life skills, like navigating their way through the Centerlink maze, this is just the sort of skill that she can teach, my niece got all our Centerlink payment doubled. That’s the kind of life skill that really needs to be taught in high school, now imagine just how much better life would be for future Aussies if they could just learn to maximize their Centerlink benefits. This is why I’m so annoyed, the girl is a natural born Centerlinker but nobody will give her a go to teach others the skills that she has mastered without even starting Uni, just imagine how valuable (and in demand) she will be if she gets her masters in Centerlink forms and is a qualified teacher.

    • Sounds like she is a real go getter and you are rightly proud of her. Also sounds like she is the perfect combination of looking after herself and others. Imagine the goes she could help other people get!!! She is being denied a shot at Australian of the Year I think. Which is not fair, which is unAustralian

      • Yep I could not be more proud of her.
        How good would Australia be if everyone could just double their Centerlink benefit?
        We simply wouldn’t need any silly factories or construction jobs or mines, everyone would be living the high life and it’s girls like my niece that can make this possible!
        They should be begging her to come help them out at Uni but instead they have sold out to foreign interests
        As you rightly said it’s unfair and unAustralian it’s just not fair dinkum.

        • It’s NDIS paperwork rorting she needs to get onto! That’s where the rivers of gold will eventually come from.

    • Is that envy’s green eye that I see peeking out from behind your comment?
      The girl’s an absolute treasure a true credit to her family no doubt about it.
      If you think she done good with Centerlink you should have seen her working her way through NDIS and MyAgedCare.
      I didn’t even think it possible but by the time she had worked her magic we were all listed as each others Carers and better than that our houses were now Care Facilities. Brilliant just plain Brilliant
      Now as for old Nan well every day we take care of her is worth another $200 from her Aged care plan. and every penny of it is tax free.
      So you might snicker but she’s my favorite niece and as Popcod suggested should really be in consideration for Aussie of the year.