International university students Australia 2019-2020 by leading university

Higher education is an important export economy for Australia, with international students paying significantly higher fees for their tertiary studies than domestic students in the country. According to Times Higher Education, the University of South Australia ranked the highest in terms of share of international students in the 2019 to 2020 academic year. During that period, around 46 percent of the students enrolled in the University of Melbourne were international students.

International tertiary education sector

An internationally recognized qualification from an Australian university is appealing to many foreign students. Chinese students made up the largest proportion of international students in Australia. In 2017, of the 624 thousand foreign students studying at higher education institutions, around 184.5 thousand originated from China. Management and commerce courses were the most popular courses for international students to study, followed by engineering, society and culture, and information technology.

Economic contribution

International education activity is a significant export income source for Australia. In 2017, around 30 billion Australian dollars were generated from intentional student expenditure – a value that has been increasing consistently over the past years. Chinese students studying onshore on student visas contributed over 10 billion Australian dollars in that year alone. Australia’s major competitors in this sector include its neighbor New Zealand, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Factors affecting student enrolments include increasing tuition fees, visa application costs as well as the comparatively high cost of living in Australian cities.

Share of international university students in Australia from 2019 to 2020, by leading university

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Release date

September 2019



Survey time period


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Statistics on "Education in Australia"

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