Australian Universities See International Student Numbers Return to Near Pre-Pandemic Levels

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News Mar 19, 2024


The number of international students enrolled at Australian higher education institutions has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows.

According to these data, as of January 2024, the number of international students enrolled in higher education institutions stood at 44,740, reports.

While the figure remains lower than the one before pandemic, specifically January 2019 when there were 45,070 international students in Australian higher education, the decline is slightly at 0.7 percent.

With 44,740 international students in January this year, colleges and universities have witnessed a significant increase from 19,770 students they welcomed in January 2022 and 30,250 in January 2023.

Despite this improvement in higher education, the overall number of international students across all educational sectors has yet to reach the pre-COVID levels.

At the beginning of this year, 82,890 international students entered Australia, down 8.1 percent from January 2019, when over 90,000 international students flocked to the country to pursue education.

Nonetheless, a notable rise has been recorded within one year, with 23,660 more international students entering the country than in 2023.

“In January 2024 there were 82,890 international student arrivals to Australia, an increase of 23,660 students compared with the corresponding month of the previous year. The number of student arrivals in January 2024 was 8.1 percent lower than the pre-COVID levels in January 2019,” the Australian Bureau of Statistics explains.

Australia is one of the destinations that attracts significant numbers of international students, alongside the US and the UK. Data indicates the number of international enrollments in Australia over the years stood at:

  • 956,773 enrolments in 2019
  • 879,997 enrolments in 2020
  • 716,025 enrolments in 2021
  • 746,387 enrolments in 2022
  • 975,229 enrolments in 2023

The Australian government now wants to reduce the number of international students, imposing new measures and increasing requirements, so it can reduce, at the same time, net migration by 250,000 by July 2025.

“...We do not want [the international student population] to grow as fast as it has been growing in the past few years,” Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil told reporters.

According to data from the Home Affairs Department, student application rejection rates are at unprecedented levels. Just over 80 percent of student visa applications were approved in the six months to December 2023, the lowest rate since the 2005/06 academic year.

That is also a decline from 86 percent in the 2022/23 academic year and 91.5 percent in 2021/22.

More from Erudera News:

>> International Students in Australia Are Not Discouraged By Govt Measures, Tens of Thousands Flock Into Country

>> Australia, Canada & UK Tighten Rules on International Students Amid Post-COVID Surge

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