Tudge: Universities must wean off international students

International students have accounted for around 25% of Australian universities’ revenue in recent years.

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge used a speech on Friday to argue that this business model is unsustainable in the post-pandemic environment, and that COVID-19 has given the nation’s universities an opportunity to shift their focus to educating Australians:

“These disruptions have highlighted that university business models can and need to become more resilient, sustainable and optimised for our national interest. The focus on international rankings has led to a relentless drive for international students to fund the larger research volumes that are required to drive up the rankings…

“COVID presents us with an opportunity to reassess the impact our universities can have, and to refocus on the main purpose of public universities: to educate Australians and produce knowledge that contributes to our country and humanity.”

Tudge’s comments are correct. But he should also admit that the federal government has been an active participant in this ponzi scheme.

The federal government worked hand-in-glove with universities to create a system that encouraged excessive growth in full fee paying international students by:

  1. The federal government offering the world’s most generous student visa working rights and opportunities for permanent residency; and
  2. Australia’s universities lowering and entry and teaching standards to ensure large number of students qualify to study and pass their courses.

The massive fees earned from rising student numbers (illustrated clearly in the next chart) was then funneled into research activities aimed solely at propelling universities up the international rankings ladder, instead of into areas that provided actual tangible benefits to Australian industry and society.

Since a higher ranking is an explicit signal of prestige and quality, universities used these rankings as a marketing tool to further juice international student enrolments, alongside charging higher fees.

However, these rising student volumes came at the direct expense of degraded entry and teaching standards, quality, and academic freedoms.

The solution is for Australia’s universities to aim for a smaller volume of higher quality students. This can be achieved by:

  1. Lifting entry standards (especially English-language proficiency);
  2. Lifting financial requirements; and
  3. Removing the link between studying, work rights and permanent residency.

These reforms would improve student quality, would raise export revenues per student, and would lower enrolment numbers to sensible and sustainable levels that are more in line with international norms.

They would also help to improve teaching standards and the experience for domestic students, which should be our universities’ main priority anyway.

Unconventional Economist


    • happy valleyMEMBER

      Maybe the unis could offer a new degree course: empathy training? Could end up having to be a 5-year degree for some students to get it?

  1. Given that 26.7% (2019) of all students in Australian Universities were Chinese citizens – I think you will find gross income for Oz universities was actually more than a third! The impact of that will be more than massive… just saying! Especially when a lot of the cost base is fixed, variable scalar.

  2. Arthur Schopenhauer

    “But he should also admit that …” 😂

    Take responsibility? Empathy coach says, “No!”.

  3. My problem is that I’m secretly praying that my son gets a job as a lecturer when he is done with his studies.
    I think he would make an excellent Professor but in reality there’ll be no university jobs for the class of 22 if there are fewer International students.
    It’s just the way the system works., those with good jobs at the Uni will hang on to them, those wanting good jobs at the Uni need the system to continue expanding.

    • These days an excellent Professor is one who knows how to maximize profits and socialize losses!!

  4. Mr SquiggleMEMBER

    So, is this a genuine shift in policy from Canberra, or classic LNP window dressing where they complain about the issue as a way of getting the optics right but effectively green light the issue they are complaining about? Its hard to tell from the Tudge speech. Might it actually be a shift in policy?

  5. “Tudge should also admit that the federal government has been an active participant in this (third world unskilled illegally working & living foreign student & partner migrant trafficking) Ponzi scheme”

    In fact the Universities, Colleges, Institutes, Academies & others who prostitute so called foreign student education for a visa alibi are just ticket clippers for what is just one of many visa categories that the Australian Government runs in mass third world unskilled migrant guestworker racketeering.

    Let’s examine the real costs and impacts of this foreign student migrant visa racket.

    Firstly, the number of foreign students & partners (on a secondary visa of a foreign student primary visa) is consistently understated in the media.

    Foreign students & partners enter on at least 4 different categories & this mask the real number – students, partners, graduates & the DFAT scholarship usually not shown).

    Here is the correct data for January 2021.
    684,000 foreign students on primary visas by country of origin. (190,000 Chinese communist Hukuo underclass, 115,000 Indians, 52,000 from Nepal !)
    Plus another 65,000 so called partners on secondary partner visas
    So it’s a total of 749,000..
    🔹Three quarters of a million…
    fact check.

    Foreign Students detail.
    The so called ‘Foreign student & partners‘ numbers have not reduced.
    Despite the fact that this intake are unskilled mature adult third world migrants on faux visas only here to live & work illegally.
    👉🏾On fake funds.
    Almost all arrive in debt to their foreign agent criminal traffickers.
    Easily cross checked in the ABF data of self declared or checked funds, routinely & systemically frauded across the board – and if actually checked – a round robin of one off bank xfers & statements, then whisked out of the bank account by the agent procurer to traffic in the next third world unskilled migrant to live & work illegally.

    👉🏾Most foreign students did not attend classes at all in 2020 – all online fakery easily frauded.
    No checks.
    👉🏾Working illegally more than ever.

    👉🏾They are not an ‘export’.
    They are a massive social & economic liability to Australia costing some $35 billion.

    As stated – the foreign students & partners enter on falsely self declared or checked funds.

    They only pay a first semester, usually borrowed from the agent trafficker. Fact check – any campus or international student ‘facility’ or migration agent will confirm this. The ABF Data for self declared or inspected funds also confirms this, along with hundreds of thousands of witness statements of foreign students ‘with no funds’ pleading ‘hardship’.

    👉🏾They enter in debt. Third world poor in debt recruited from the slums and rural areas of China, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, South & Central America, the Middle East & Africa. To enter Australia to live and work illegally in a long stay / semi permanent stay visa.
    To repay the agent procurer debt.
    To send back remittances.

    👉🏾Their documents and health checks (overseas agent Doctor) are invariably false.
    Again fact check is the overload on our public hospitals and health care system when many present with third world diseases – venereal disease (tens of thousands trafficked in a vice workers), skin disease, intestinal disease, the full spectrum of hepatitis, tuberculosis.
    Either not checked or foreign agent doctor faked health checks.
    Most / many have no medical insurance despite this being a condition of entity (COe) and present to our hospitals, get free treatment then sign a promise to pay, never do and go back into the community to continue their illegal or vice work and spread their infections.

    👉🏾Their courses are nonsense.
    Up to 4 years for what is a 14 year old 1 term business studies course with faux certificates or diplomas that have zero industry or international recognition.

    The progression rate for a foreign student to have a professional vocation with a higher than average income in Australia or their home country is only 3.6% (Migrant Pathways A Decade On report).

    🔹That’s right – 96% fail to be anything other than a useless third world unskilled migrant who paid for pretext education so they could work illegally in a western country and repay agent procurer debt & send back remittances. (And hoped to snag a PR in visa churn)
    All their living costs & ongoing fees are paid from money earned in Australia.

    And given they are unskilled, useless, third world & no English – then it’s by working illegally.

    Over 75% work illegally on top of so called limited work rights (Sydney Uni / UTS study)

    The impact to Australians.

    🔻They steal over 600,000 Australian’s jobs.
    That alone costs Australian taxpayers over $19 billion in unemployed Australian Centrelink benefits – 2 x the foreign student so called fees paid (from money earned here anyway) for the fake visa alibi.

    🔻They lower wages for all other Australians costing tens of billions more.

    🔻They occupy over 120,000 modest ex Australian residential dwellings in migrant run cash in hand bunk slum share.
    While we have 116,000 Australian permanent homeless & 340,000 seeking affordable housing. Costing the Australian taxpayers over $4 billion.

    Vice & crime.
    🔻The foreign students are the epicentre of foreign run criminal activity, black market labor rings.
    At least 50,000 foreign students have been trafficked in as the stock in trade for the Asian run vice industry, drug cartels, money laundering mules & other such criminal activity.

    Foreign criminal run ethnic racist underground economy.
    🔻The Chinese communists, the north Asian misfit useless, the Indian slum clearance, the Bangla & Nepalese rurals, the Arab, African & South America criminal spawn – all run their own ethnic and highly racist underground rackets using the foreign students & partners in their own cash in hand or ABN labour rings.
    The third world migrant labour trafficked in as an unskilled ‘student’ at 35 years old.
    Replete with the falsified identities, the falsified foreign doctor health check, the falsified papers, the pretext course.

    They aren’t here to ‘learn’ anything.

    They are only here to live & work illegally, to repay their agent procurer debt and send back remittances.

    🔻Then we have the congestion, filth, squalor, infrastructure and public services overload.

    Vast areas of Sydney and Melbourne faithful replicas of these third world migrants home country slums.
    Costing Australians billions more.

    🔻A deluge of third world useless and their attendant parasite ‘faux teacher’ that has destroyed our Australian education system.

    Australian Education has fallen 10 places in the global rankings.

    When our Education system was allowed to prostitute itself as a migrant guestworker visa alibi, it also became unaffordable- and stopped being an entitlement for our youth.
    Costing our society tens of billions more.
    Each and every foreign student allowed in is a liability to our country.

    And the Australian government who grants these visas is fully responsible.

    Some basic questions:

    👉🏾Why aren’t the current foreign student and partner visa COe being enforced by DHA / ABF?

    👉🏾Why aren’t their funds being checked? (DHA)

    👉🏾Why aren’t all Foreign Students and Partners being forced to report weekly to the local police station to declare their activities, course attendance, sources of income, where they live exactly and who they pay rent to? Like a foreign student has to do in China & other countries. (DHA).

    And finally:
    👉🏾If they are doing ‘online courses’.. why do they have to be in Australia?