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Australia Higher Education Statistics

Australia International Student Statist…

Australia International Student Statistics

More than 350,000 foreign students are studying in Australia, as of 2022 statistics— of which 201,052 are enrolled in higher education only. Australia is known for being a country of opportunities especially for international students, with a great lifestyle and some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Quick Summary:

Australia is a popular study abroad destination for many reasons including numerous scholarship opportunities, working while studying and academic recognition.

  • There are currently 355,627 international students studying abroad in Australia.
  • Of the total international students in Australia, 201,052 are enrolled in higher education only.
  • New South Wales is the region with the most international students in Australia, a total of 141,171.
  • The majority of international students studying in Australia come from China with 104,334 students.
  • With 26,590 international students, RMIT University is the most popular university among foreign students.
  • The majority of international students (48%) are enrolled in master’s programs in Australian universities.
  • There are 50.4% male and 49.6% female international students enrolled in higher education institutions in Australia.
  • During COVID-19 in 2021, 65% of international students were still living in Australia, and 28% were living outside of Australia, whereas the remaining 7% had an unknown location.

Historical International Student Statistics in Australia

  • The number of enrollments illustrated in the table below can be higher than the total number of international students since one student can enroll in more than one course within the same year.
  • Higher education makes up most of all international student enrollment in Australia in all enrollment history.
  • The number of enrolled students in 2022 decreased by 21% from 2021.
  • A decrease of 48.6% in international student enrolment occurred from 2018 until recently, from 692,520 to 355,627.
  • From 2015, the number of international students decreased by 28.4% until now.
  • The highest point of international student enrollment in Australia occurred in 2019, with 756,610 students in total.
  • From 2019 to 2022, the total number of international student enrollment significantly decreased by 60%.
Year Total International Students Total Enrollments Only Higher Education Enrollments
2022 355,627 364,643 201,052
2021 571,853 715,348 365,502
2020 687,082 882,482 418,168
2019 756,610 952,271 440,667
2018 692,520 872,324 398,091
2017 622,935 795,631 349,102
2016 553,063 708,877 305,308
2015 497,166 641,714 271,647
2014 452,913 586,472 249,356
2013 410,498 524,215 230,723
2012 401,729 513,051 230,367
2011 425,600 554,126 241,446
2010 468,717 616,729 242,504
2009 491,337 631,837 226,140
2008 434,257 543,846 202,610
2005 288,407 345,830 178,332
2002 228,194 274,917 124,941

International Students in Australia by Sector

  • The majority of international students in Australia are enrolled in the higher education sector, a total of 201,052 students.
  • The number of international students enrolled in higher education institutions decreased by 23% from 2021 to 2022.
  • From 2020 to 2021 the number of international students decreased by 16.9% from 687,082 to 570,626 students.
  • A decrease of almost 50% in higher education institution enrollment occurred from 2018, with 398,000 students.
  • A 53.9% increase from 2015 to 2020 occurred in the number of international students enrolled in higher education institutions.
Education Sector International Students
Higher Education 201,052
Vocational Education and Training (VET) 142,137
Schools 8,377
English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) 8,187
Non-award 4,890

International Students in Australia by State and Territory

  • New South Wales has the highest number of international students studying in higher education institutions (141,171).
  • Among all states and territories in Australia, the Australian Capital Territory has the least number of foreign students, a total of 9,197 students.
  • The majority of international students in all states and territories come from China, except for Western Australia where India brings the most students, and Northern Territory that has the most students from Nepal.
  • The number of international students in New South Wales decrease by 18% from the last year, and a decrease of 25% in Victoria’s number of international student enrollment.
  • A decrease in the number of international students from last year also occurred in Queensland, by 22%.
State and Territory International Students
New South Wales 141,171
Victoria 108,082
Queensland 49,060
South Australia 20,673
Western Australia 18,826
Tasmania 6,929
Northern Territory 2,407
Australian Capital Territory 9,197

International Students in Australia by Origin Country

  • The majority of international students in Australia come from China, with 104,334 students, followed by India with 58,132 international students.
  • The number of international students that come from China has increased by 38.8% from 2021.
  • Phillippines is ranked last in the top ten countries with the most international students in China, with 8,875 students.
  • Although the United Kingdom is not part of the top ten, it is ranked the 19th with 4,604 international students in Australia.
  • There are 2,361 international students from Canada, which makes it the 21nd country with the most international students, followed by United States with 2,182 international students.
Country of Origin Number of International Students
China 104,334
India 58,132
Nepal 29,604
Vietnam 13,226
Indonesia 10,470
Colombia 9,971
Malaysia 9,849
Brazil 9,148
Pakistan 9,045
Phillippines 8,875

Which Universities Do International Students in Australia Choose?

  • The university with the highest number of international students in Australia is RMIT University, with 26,590 students, followed by Monash University with 22,140 international students.
  • The university with the smallest number of international students is the University of Notre Dame, with 327 international students.
  • Curtin University and the University of Melbourne are ranked third and fourth for the most international students in Australia, with 15,598 and 14,166 enrolled students, respectively.
University International Students
RMIT University 26,590
Monash University 22,140
Curtin University 15,598
University of Melbourne 14,166
University of New South Wales 13,132
University of Wollongong 12,360
University of Sydney 12,278
University of Queensland 11,519
Macquarie University 10,069
University of Technology Sydney 10,054

International Students in Australia By Degree Type

  • The majority of international students in higher education institutions in Australia are enrolled in master’s programs, which make up 48% of the total degree types enrollment.
  • In comparison, 32% of all international students in Australia are enrolled in doctoral programs.
  • Finally, only 14% of all international students enrolled in higher education in Australia, are registered in bachelor or corresponding programs.

International Students in Australia by Gender

  • According to the latest statistics there are 58.6% domestic female students and 49.6% international female students.
  • In comparison, there are 50.4% male international students enrolled in higher education studies in Australia, whereas 41.3% are domestic male students.
  • A decrease of 1.5% in male international student enrollment occurred within a decade in Australian universities.
  • On the other hand, the number of international female students increased by 1.6% within a decade.

Impact of COVID-19 on International Students in Australia

  • Of the total number of international students enrolled in Australia in 2021, during COVID-19 —251,156 or 65% were still living in Australia.
  • On the other hand, 106,880 others or 28% of the total international students were living outside of Australia in 2021
  • The rest of the total international students in Australia —7% (27,312 students) had an unknown location during the same period.
  • Of the total 146,249 international students who were enrolled in New South Wales during 2021, were mostly (29%) living outside of Australia and the rest 8% had an unknown location.
  • In comparison, of the total 121,667 enrolled students in universities in Victoria in 2021, 31% of them were living outside of Australia, and the remaining 6% had an unknown location.
  • Of the total 7,851 enrolled students in Tasmania by 2021, 11% were confirmed living outside of Australia, and 12% had an unknown location.
  • Of the total 116,571 international students from China ,during COVID-10 in 2021 —61% were not living in Australia, and 7% had an unknown location.
  • On the other hand, 9% of the total 63,309 international students from India have lived outside of Australia in 2021, and 11% had an unknown location.
  • Of the total 30,816 enrolled students in Nepal in 2021, 2% of them were living outside of Australia, and 8% of them had an unknown location during COVID-19 in 2021.
  • In a survey conducted with students enrolled in Australian universities during COVID-19 in 2021, students were asked about reasons for leaving Australia while studying.
  • One of the most common reasons for international students living outside of Australia during COVID-19, was because they were stuck in home country and 54.8% claimed that is an extremely important reason; 32.3% believed it was not at all important.
  • Another reason for leaving Australia during COVID-19 in 2021 was eviction and 71.7% responded that it was not an important reason at all.
  • 35.1% of students who left Australia claimed that they had fears and concerns about the pandemic.