Cuts loom as foreign numbers fall

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 December, 2004, 12:00am

A sudden drop in foreign student numbers is confronting Australian universities with serious problems, especially in business and IT.

Monash University IT faculty is Australia's largest and enrols more than 7,000 students. Of these, 43 per cent are fee-paying foreigners.

But this year, the faculty experienced a 12 per cent drop in overseas enrolments, mostly undergraduates, and a further fall in applications is expected next year.

A faculty spokeswoman said programmes were being reviewed as part of a faculty-wide investigation into administrative and academic structures.

A majority of overseas postgraduates, most of whom are undertaking masters by coursework degrees, are enrolled in Australia's IT faculties where they comprise more than 40 per cent of the total student number. Their fees are estimated to contribute more than A$500 million ($3.03 billion) a year to the faculties so any enrolment decline is likely to have a serious impact on staffing levels.