Student life 'is Australia's largest service export'

Australia’s tertiary education system has become the country’s largest service export, it has been claimed.

Academic Glyn Davis noted that while students from around the world have always travelled, "the scale of students crossing borders these days is unprecedented", with a sixfold increase witnessed in the trend in the past 25 years.

Writing in the Australian, he observed that universities have sought to cater to this huge demand from international students by adopting English-language tuition and standardised degrees and by forming alliances to assist mobility and cross-enrolments.

He observed that in Australia itself, higher education is now worth about $16 billion a year to the national economy, with the "financial flow" from overseas supporting a significant expansion of tertiary provision across the country.

"About one-quarter of all university students in Australia are drawn from abroad, and their financial contribution is profound," commented Mr Davis.

"For a number of public universities, fee income from international students has become their single largest source of income, more significant than commonwealth funding."

The comments may interest Aussies looking to compare student loans within the country’s highly competitive tertiary education sector. It comes after a recent article on noted that in Norway, a high tax system allows the state to invest in "generous student loans for higher education".

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