Enrolments from overseas continue rapid growth

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 May, 2005, 12:00am

Foreign students will comprise more than 60 per cent of enrolments in Australian universities within five decades, according to the Australian Productivity Commission.

Projections by the national organisation indicate that 1.3 million foreign students will be enrolled in Australian higher education by 2050, compared with 200,000 this year.

After 15 years of extraordinary growth, foreign students now make up 25 per cent of total enrolments. Over most of this period, numbers from abroad increased by 15 per cent a year, or nearly twice the global average.

But even if the rate of expansion slows to as little as 4 per cent, the commission estimates that the number of foreign students will reach 1.3 million within 45 years.

It says enrolments by Australia's young people in university will decline as the population ages. But this will be more than offset by rising demand for higher education from developing countries.