One of Australia's Oldest Universities Convenes Staff Amid Plans to Cap Int’l Student Numbers

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News May 22, 2024

University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania (UTAS), the fourth oldest university in Australia, has convened its staff to discuss spending, vacancies, and international student enrollment following the government’s plans to cap international student numbers at universities.

The government has proposed legislation to cap the number of international students that educational providers can admit. If institutions want to enroll more students, they will need to provide additional housing, reports.

Additionally, the legislation aims to cut migrants from 528,000 in 2023 to 260,000 in 2025. The government has indicated that the limit on international enrollment will be implemented as of January 1, 2025, or later.

UTAS sent a letter to its staff, saying the first step to deal with the government’s changes is to reduce spending, ABC News reported.

“Which principally means managing vacancies and discretionary expenditure carefully. As these are important changes, we are seeking staff feedback through a consultation period to ensure we determine the most effective outcomes,” the letter read.

The university will hold consultation sessions with its employees until Friday, May 31, in a bid to come up with ways to reduce “discretionary spending and manage vacancies.”

According to the school, the intention is to figure out how to manage staff expenses, particularly when it comes to filling job vacancies. The university reported a drop in the number of international students since the measures were announced in December, with bout 500 fewer international students enrolled at UTAS this year.

On May 11, 2024, the government also announced that it would introduce legislation to further “strengthen the integrity and quality of international education.”

“Our international education sector is incredibly important to our country. International students are back but so are the shonks seeking to take advantage of them. These reforms are designed to ensure the integrity, quality and ongoing sustainability of this vitally important sector,” Minister for Education, Jason Clare said.

Moreover, the legislation also includes a package of additional measures, like:

  • Preventing education providers from holding ownership positions in education agencies.
  • Pausing for up to one year registrations for new international education providers and new courses from existing providers.
  • Requiring new institutions seeking registration to show “a track record of quality education” offered to local students before they are allowed to enroll international students.
  • Canceling dormant provider registrations.
  • Banning registered providers under regulatory investigation to accept international students.
  • Improving data sharing related to education agents.
  • Prohibiting agent commissions on student transfers.

According to government’s data, as of February 2024, there were 703,245 international enrollments in Australia, up from 578,930 within the same timeframe in 2019.

Image source: Twitter account of University of Tasmania

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