UA Logo.jpgMedia Release Header.png


Record numbers confirm Australia as international education powerhouse

The quality of Australian higher education is bringing international students to our shores in record numbers.

New Department of Education figures confirm there are now 509,610 international students in Australia at universities, private colleges, English language courses and schools.

International student enrolments in higher education institutions rose by 16 per cent in 2018 — above the overall increase across the education sector of 13 per cent.

The data also highlights the diversity of countries with growing numbers of enrolments — including Nepal (54 per cent), Colombia (29 per cent), Brazil (27 per cent), India (17 per cent) and China (16 per cent).

Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said the record number of international students choosing to study in Australia is important for our future ties to the world — as well as to our national income.

“Australia has become a powerhouse in international education and quality has been the foundation of that success,” Ms Robinson said.

The latest figures follow trade data released earlier this month which show that international education now contributes $32 billion a year to the Australian economy.

“We have almost doubled enrolments over the past decade and built international education into Australia’s third largest export sector. This supports Australian communities, jobs, regional economies, and our international relationships and standing,” she said.

“These half a million international students will become tomorrow’s global leaders — returning home as informal ambassadors for Australia and extending our nation’s worldwide networks in business, diplomacy and politics.”

“Maintaining the quality of our higher education system and continuing to invest in that quality will be important to continue this strong record of growth,” Ms Robinson said.

Universities Australia Media Contacts

Misha Schubert
02 6285 8133
Mobile: 0421 612 351

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

For all the latest from and about Australia's universities visit

Follow us on Twitter @uniaus