Can Australian Universities resurge after the pandemic impact?

Team Veye | 16-Jan-2022 Australian Universities

The number of international students applying to study at Australian universities had more than halved while borders remained closed due to COVID-19. According to the international student recruitment marketplace Adventus, applications by international students to attend Australian universities dropped 51 per cent since March last year.

This is somewhat supported by data released by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment last year, which showed universities across Australia experienced a steep decline in the number of enrolments and course commencements in 2021.

The closure of international borders during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the decisions of many interested international students to enrol at an Australian university. So much so, that students, who would have typically chosen Australia as a study destination was looking elsewhere.

Ms Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, acknowledged that countries such as the US, the UK and Canada were taking advantage of Australia’s hardline border policies.

Adventus, which partners with more than 1,500 institutions, found since March applications had grown by 148 per cent in Canada, 150 per cent in the United Kingdom and 422 per cent in the United States.

This may have a long-term impact on the country as we have lost nearly two years of students and the flow-on effect may have longer-term implications. Nonetheless, the fundamental attractiveness of Australian education has not changed.

International students, after being locked out for more than two years, were due to be allowed into Australia from the start of December, but owing to the emergence of Omicron the federal government delayed the reopening by a fortnight.

As international students began arriving in Australia, many faculty members were planning the adoption of hybrid teaching models next year, with both in-person and online learning.

Health officials becoming increasingly confident that new cases of Covid-19 will begin to plateau next week coupled with the removal of 40-hours a fortnight cap on international student workers could further blunt the impact.


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