The export value of international students in Australia has increased by 30 per cent in the past two years, according to new figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The ABS estimates international students contributed almost $31 billion to the Australian economy in 2017, up from $28.6 billion in 2016 and an estimated $21 billion in 2015.
The figures include education fees and living expenses as well as expenditure by friends and family visiting students in Australia.
St Stephen’s College CEO Iain Langridge said the steady increase highlights the interest in Australia as an education destination, coupled with the growing market of international students as economies such as China and India continue to mature.
“China represents 32 per cent of that expenditure and, amid a competitive local education market, its growing middle class is looking at alternative pathways for their children to access tertiary education,” he said.
“The interest from high schools in China in the St Stephen’s College International Education Program highlights this growth and demonstrates expenditure by international students will only continue to rise as these economies with vast populations look outside of their own borders for education options.”
The St Stephen’s College International Education Program is currently being taught in two high schools in China and will expand into several more provinces in the 2018 school year (to start in September).
The program focuses on English and business skills, with the aim of providing students with an alternative pathway into international universities.
“Our aim at St Stephen’s College is to grow the number of international students in Western Australia’s world class universities, thereby creating an economic benefit to WA businesses through the associated expenditure,” Iain said.
“The Western Australian lifestyle, its proximity to China and its relative affordability are all key aspects that run in our favour as we look to build international education expenditure.
“More than 70 per cent of that $31 billion dollars is spent within New South Wales and Victoria – St Stephen’s College is looking to increase the slice of that pie for Western Australia and we are confident we are on the right track to do so.”