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International education contributed a record $32.2 billion to the Australian economy in 2017, the latest trade figures reveal.

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.

The education of international students is Australia’s third largest export, behind only iron ore and coal.

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," Ms Jackson said.

“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."

"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."

“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,” she said.

Figure 1: Value of education-related services exports, 2006 to 2017

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The $32.2 billion includes:

  • $31.6 billion from education-related personal travel (i.e. international student tuition fees and living expenses);
  • $29 million from royalties on education;
  • $164 million education consultancy services;
  • $12 million from correspondence courses;
  • $299 million from education-related services through registered education institutions; and
  • $46 million in other educational services.

Universities Australia Media Contacts

Misha Schubert
02 6285 8133
Mobile: 0421 612 351

Bella Counihan
Ph: 02 6285 8123
Mobile: 0419 212 219 

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