Australians say international students are important to the economy 

29 March 2019

Four in five Australians say international students are important to Australia’s economy, new polling confirms.

A survey of 1500 people – by respected opinion trackers JWS Research – finds 81 per cent of Australians grasp that international education makes a major contribution to national prosperity.

This overwhelming public support rises again – to 85 per cent – when Australians learn exactly how much income this sector brings into the Australian economy each year.

International education generates export income of $34.9 billion a year for Australia and supports more than 240,000 jobs across the country. It is now Australia’s third largest export.

Australia is tipped to leapfrog the United Kingdom to become the world’s second most popular destination for international students.

Almost 700,000 international students now study in Australia – the majority at our universities.

The polling by JWS also shows two in three Australians oppose funding cuts to university research while 62 per cent of Australians oppose cuts to university student places.

The 2017 mid-year Budget update delivered 2.1 billion in cuts to student places. In 2018’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook the Government cut $328.5 million from university research funding

University researchers and experts are also the most trusted group in society to ensure facts and evidence are part of important public debates, the polling confirms.

Even in an era in which institutional trust all across society is at a stark low, a majority (53 per cent) of Australians still put their trust in university scientists, researchers and experts to inject facts and evidence in public debates.