Wednesday 7 June 2023
Considering cap to international student numbers alarming
The Student Accommodation Council has today raised the alarm at media reports the Australian University Accord review into Australia’s Higher Education system is seriously considering capping the intake of international students.
Student Accommodation Council Acting Executive Director Adina Cirson said today’s reports on comments made by Accord Panel Chair Professor Mary O’Kane on capping international students from coming to Australia, because they can study online, is taking a narrow view of the contribution students make to our communities, the economy and relationships with the region.
“The review terms of reference do not include examining international student intake numbers,” Ms Cirson said.
“To hear that caps were ‘definitely on the table’ and being considered for an interim report to be handed down by the end month, with no consultation on such a significant policy shift, is very concerning.
“A cap on the number of overseas students will undoubtedly have far reaching consequences.
“Students are a vital source of life for our CBDs and their return post the pandemic matters in every Australian capital city.
“As our research released in November 2022 found, 16 per cent of students stay on to work in Australia after their study is completed and are critical to alleviating workforce shortages.
“Furthermore in 2019, an estimated 300,000 international tourists entered Australia to visit an international student. This tourism activity is estimated to have contributed an additional $1 billion in spending to the Australian economy. International students also provide a rich cultural tapestry and diversity that symbolises a modern and relevant economy enriching all Australians.
“Engaging in online learning fails to provide the authentic experience of studying in Australia, leading to worse outcomes for students. Students need to be together with their peers experiencing our culture through face-to-face educational learning, and the experiential benefits of living and working whilst studying in Australia,” she said.
Ms Cirson said Australia needs to make significant efforts to regain its reputation and reclaim its position as a leading destination for education.
“The benefits of attracting international students are critical to our economic recovery and would create great uncertainty about maintaining Australia’s highest performing service export – valued at some $40 billion prior to the pandemic,” Ms Cirson said.
“We are calling for caps to be taken off the table until genuine engagement with those who will be most impacted, and the long-term consequences of such a recommendation, can be seriously considered,” Ms Cirson said.