Aus edu revenue slumps heavily on declining foreign students

Aus edu revenue slumps heavily on declining foreign students

Australia's education sector has registered a massive fall of over 3 billion dollars in revenue from foreign students as number of overseas pupils plummeted, affected by a rapidly rising currency, stiffening of the visa regime and violence against Indians.

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the value of international students to the education sector has fallen by a whopping 20 per cent last year but the government has dubbed this decline "as expected, and a good thing".

Australia's education sector that drew a large number of foreign students, including Indians, is one of the major revenue earners in Australia. However, figures from 2010 to 2011 showed a 3 billion dollar loss.

Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans, while speaking at an education conference in Canberra, said the fall was restricted to vocational colleges which the government had targeted with reforms to stop "visa rorting" or dishonest practices, a report in 'The Australian' said.

Deloitte's report last year for peak group Universities Australia had predicted a worst-case scenario of just 3 per cent decline in 2011 across all education sectors. However, the figures reveal a 20 per cent fall last year alone.

The figures released yesterday show the growth in GDP slowed to 0.4 per cent in the December quarter from 0.8 per cent in the September quarter.

More than a third of this can be attributed to losses in international education revenue.
In December, international education recorded an earning of 2.8 billion dollars, down from 3.7 billion dollars a year earlier -- a 26 per cent drop.

Evans was "not concerned by the statistics reported and I don't accept the criticism".
"The fall-off has been in the lower levels of vocational courses and that reflects the government's decision that I made when I was immigration minister to end the migration rorts. That sector was (characterised) by visa-rorting; people being sold a visa rather than an education," he said.

Among the factors being cited for the drop in foreign students is a rapidly rising Australian dollar since 2009, tightening of the visa regime as well as migration rules.

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