International education contributed a record $32.2 billion to the Australian economy in 2017, according to Universities Australia. The education of international students is Australia’s third largest export, behind only iron ore and coal.

Australia’s strong reputation for high-quality university education and research helped to deliver a 22 per cent lift on the $26.3 billion generated in 2016. This is the largest annual growth since 2008.

Universities Australia Acting Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said Australia’s openness to the world and the outstanding quality of our university education and research had been crucial to that growth.

“International students are drawn to Australia because they know they’ll get a world-class education, global alumni networks, a great student experience and lifelong friendships with our country,” Jackson said.

young Asian women standing with Melbourne skyline in the background

“Over the past decade, Australia’s world-class universities have added chapter after chapter to our international education success story. It’s in the interests of all Australians that this continues. That’s why we need to keep investing in the quality that brings students to our shores.”

Schools in NSW and Victoria have been the most popular destinations for international students. Western Australia has benefited from a boom in students from India who have chosen to study in Perth. 

“The income that Australia generates from educating international students directly supports jobs, wages and living standards across our country – but it’s worth so much more than dollars and cents,” explained Jackson.

“Australians also get the benefit of the powerful personal, cultural, diplomatic and trade ties that are forged when students from other nations spend their formative years here.”

Source: Universities Australia press release, April 2018