For Australians

Market Information Package   |   Login to the MIP   |   Join

International Student Data

2009 International Student Enrolments

International student data for 2009 shows there were 631,935 enrolments by full-fee paying international students in Australia on a student visa. This represents an increase of 16.8 percent on 2008 enrolments and compares with growth of 20.2 per cent between 2007 and 2008. In 2009 year-to-date enrolments exceeded 600,000 for the first time.

There were 365,605 commencements in 2009, an increase of 13.2 percent on 2008. This compares with growth of 24.4 per cent between 2007 and 2008.

Enrolment nationality statistics

Enrolments grew by 90,791 between 2008 and 2009. All of the top 10 source countries by enrolment volume recorded increases between 2008 and 2009. These countries collectively accounted for 72.4% of all enrolments, and grew by 20.5%.

Top 10 nationalities for International Student Enrolments in 2009

Nationality Enrolments % of total Growth on 2008
China 154,777 24.5% 18.0%
India 120,913 19.1% 25.4%
Republic of Korea 35,708 5.7% 1.6%
Thailand 26,460 4.2% 19.0%
Nepal 24,579 3.9% 36.5%
Vietnam 23,755 3.8% 49.9%
Malaysia 23,103 3.7% 9.5%
Indonesia 17,867 2.8% 11.8%
Brazil 17,529 2.8% 10.3%
Saudi Arabia 12,599 2.0% 61.8%
Other nationalities 174,645 27.6% 8.1%
All nationalities 631,935 100.0% 16.8%

Source countries outside the top 10 recording growth of more than 1,000 enrolments were Colombia (28.6% growth), Pakistan (24.4% growth) and the Philippines (41.6% growth). Of these, Pakistan has been growing continuously since 2003, the Philippines since 2004, and Colombia since 2005.

Four of the 34 source countries with more than 2,000 enrolments recorded declines between 2008 and 2009: Japan (down 6.4%), Hong Kong (down 12.9%), the USA (down 6.7%), and Taiwan (down 1.3%).

Hong Kong has been declining continuously since 2004, Japan and the USA since 2005 and Taiwan since 2007.

The Asian region accounted for 79.3 per cent of international student enrolments in Australia. Enrolments from this region grew by 17.2 per cent between 2008 and 2009. In comparison, enrolments from the Asian region increased by 21.0 per cent between 2007 and 2008.

(Source: Australian Education International)

Commencements

Enrolments grew by 90,791 between 2008 and 2009. All of the top 10 source countries by enrolment volume recorded increases between 2008 and 2009. These countries collectively accounted for 72.4% of all enrolments, and grew by 20.5%.

Top 10 nationalities for International Student Commencements in 2009

Nationality Commencements % of total Growth on 2008
China 89,300 24.4% 18.8%
India 67,974 18.6% 13.4%
Republic of Korea 20,416 5.6% -2.0%
Thailand 16,600 4.5% 22.0%
Vietnam 15,043 4.1% 43.1%
Nepal 13,677 3.7% 14.6%
Brazil 12,579 3.4% 6.1%
Malaysia 10,573 2.9% 10.3%
Indonesia 9,213 2.5% 10.4%
USA 8,844 2.4% -7.5%
Other nationalities 101,386 27.7% 10.7%
All nationalities 365,605 100.0% 13.2%

Source countries outside the top 10 recording growth of more than 1,000 commencements were Saudi Arabia (44.9% growth) and Colombia (25.8% growth).

There were 5 countries outside the top 10 with more than 1,000 commencements which recorded declines on 2008 figures: Japan (down 0.4%), Hong Kong (down 35.2%), Sri Lanka (down 6.1%), Mauritius (down 17.5%) and Egypt (down 16.2%).

The Asian region accounted for 76.6 per cent of international student commencements in 2009, similar to the 76.5 per cent seen in 2008.  Between 2008 and 2009, commencements from the Asian region grew by 13.4 per cent, compared with growth of 25.8 per cent between 2007 and 2008.

(Source: Australian Education International)

Sectors

An increase in enrolments and commencements by international students was recorded across all sectors in 2009, with the exception of schools.

2009 International Student Enrolments and commencements by sector

Enrolments Commencements
Sector Number % of total Growth
on 2008
Number % of total Growth
on 2008
VET 232,475 36.8% 33.3% 132,303 36.2% 25.3%
Higher Education 203,324 32.2% 12.1% 89,435 24.5% 15.4%
ELICOS 135,141 21.4% 7.5% 103,993 28.4% 4.5%
Other 33,489 5.3% 7.2% 26,815 7.3% 2.5%
Schools 27,506 4.4% -2.9% 13,059 3.6% -8.7%
All sectors 631,935 100.0% 16.8% 365,605 100% 13.2%

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET ranked first by volume of enrolments and commencements. VET enrolments and commencements were the fastest growing of all sectors. Enrolments grew by 33.3 per cent between 2008 and 2009. Commencements grew by 25.3 per cent in the same period.

Asian countries dominated activity with 85.0 per cent of enrolments and 84.7 per cent of commencements. India was the top source country with a 34.3 per cent share of enrolments and a 34.6 per cent share of commencements, followed by China with shares of 14.5 per cent and 14.6 per cent respectively. No other source country in this sector individually contributed more than 10 per cent of enrolments or commencements.

"Management and Commerce" was the largest broad field of education in VET with 46.0 per cent of enrolments and 39.9 per cent of commencements. “Food, Hospitality and Personal Services” ranked second, contributing 24.4 per cent and 28.7 per cent respectively. All other broad fields of education contributed less than 10 per cent of enrolments and commencements.

Higher Education

Higher education ranked second by volume of enrolments and third by volume of commencements. Enrolments grew by 12.1 per cent between 2008 and 2009. Commencements grew by 15.4 per cent in the same period.

China was the largest source country for higher education representing 31.7 per cent of total enrolments and 33.8 per cent of total commencements. India was the second largest source country by volume of enrolments (13.5%) and by volume of commencements (12.6%).

Asian countries collectively accounted for 83.2 per cent of enrolments and 82.0 per cent of commencements. Enrolments in this region grew by 11.6 per cent between 2008 and 2009, compared with 14.6 per cent for all other regions combined. Commencements in the Asian region grew by 14.4 per cent in the same period, compared with 20.4 per cent for all other regions combined.

“Management and Commerce” was the largest broad field of education with 48.4 per cent of enrolments and 50.6 per cent of commencements. No other broad field of education individually contributed more than a 10 per cent share of enrolments or commencements.

ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students)

ELICOS ranked third by volume of enrolments and second by volume of commencements. Enrolments grew by 7.5 per cent between 2008 and 2009. Commencements grew by 4.5 per cent in the same period.

China was the top source country with a 26.7 per cent share of enrolments and a 27.5 per cent share of commencements.

India ranked second in enrolments and in commencements in this sector with 9.3 per cent and 9.8 per cent shares respectively; followed by the Republic of Korea with 8.6 per cent and 8.1 per cent shares respectively.

The Asian region accounted for 70.2 per cent of enrolments and 70.6 per cent of commencements, and recorded growth of 2.4 per cent for enrolments and negative growth of 0.3 per cent for commencements.

Other

This sector, which includes study abroad and foundation programs, ranked fourth by volume of enrolments and commencements. In 2009 this sector contributed 5.3 per cent of enrolments and 7.3 per cent of commencements. Enrolments in this sector grew by 7.2 per cent between 2008 and 2009, and commencements grew by 2.5 per cent in the same period.

The two largest source countries in this sector are China and the USA. China contributed 23.5 per cent of enrolments and 21.1 per cent of commencements. The USA contributed 20.8 per cent of enrolments and 25.5 per cent of commencements. All other nationalities individually contributed less than 10 per cent of enrolments and commencements.

Schools

The schools sector ranked fifth by volume of enrolments and commencements, and comprised 4.4 per cent of enrolments and 3.6 per cent of commencements. Enrolments fell by 2.9 per cent between 2008 and 2009, while commencements fell by 8.7 per cent.

China was the top source country with 45.8 per cent of enrolments and 42.3 per cent of commencements. The Republic of Korea was second with 16.4 per cent and 13.9 per cent shares respectively. All other nationalities individually contributed less than 10 per cent of enrolments and commencements.

(Source: Australian Education International)

2009 Monthly Summaries of International Student Enrolment Data

(Source: Australian Education International)

Monthly Time Series of Student Enrolments for 2009 – Summaries by Sector

The following tables give a month by month analysis of international student data by sector including information on enrolments, commencements, finishes and year to date totals. More detailed data are contained in the '2009 Detailed Monthly Tables' section below.

Please click on the images below to view the tables individually or a full set of the tables 1 to 6 (pdf 121KB) are available to download.

  • Table 1: All Sectors
    Table1: All Sectors
  • Table 2: ELICOS
    Table 2: ELICOS
  • Table 3: Higher Education
    Table3: Higher Education
  • Table 4: VET
    Table4: VET
  • Table 5: Schools
    Table 5: Schools
  • Table 6: Other
    Table6: Other

(Source: Australian Education International)

2009 Annual Pivot Table

Note: Items marked with Only available to organisations that have access to the Market Information Package (MIP) are available only to organisations that have access to Austrade's Market Information Package (MIP).

The pivot tables are compatible with Excel 2003 or later.

  • Basic Pivot Tables
    Includes the variables State and Territory, Sector, Nationality, Month and Year for year-to-date enrolments and commencements.
    2009 (zip 9.3MB,unzipped 84.2MB)
  • Standard Pivot Tables
    Includes those available in the Basic Pivot Table and also includes Broad Field of Education, Level of Study, Region and Provider Type.
    2009 Only available to organisations that have access to the Market Information Package (MIP) (zip 14.9MB, unzipped 110.0MB)
  • Detailed Pivot Tables
    Includes those available in the Basic Pivot Table and also includes Broad Field of Education, Narrow Field of Education, Detailed Field of Education, Level of study, Region and Provider type.
    2009 Only available to organisations that have access to the Market Information Package (MIP) (zip 25.9MB,unzipped 183.6MB)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2009 Annual Tables

Detailed tables are available individually below, or as a complete set (pdf 127KB).

The pivot table used to produce Tables A to G is included above. It contains the variables Sector, Nationality and Year, and refers to enrolments and commencements year-to-date December data.

(Source: Australian Education International)

2009 State Summaries

2009 Annual State Summary Sheet – All States (pdf 380KB)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2009 Detailed Monthly Tables

The detailed monthly tables expand on the information provided in tables one to six. These tables include information on monthly enrolments, commencements and year to date data. Monthly data adds new enrolments for the month to the number at the start of month.

Tables 7 to 12 contain information about each Sector by top 10 Nationalities and State and Territory. The focus of these tables has changed from counting the enrolment and commencement activity during the reference month to counting the year-to-date activity up to and including the reference month.

The data in the following tables is updated throughout the year resulting in some revision to previously published data.

Note: Items marked with Only available to organisations that have access to the Market Information Package (MIP) are available only to organisations who have access to Austrade's Market Information Package (MIP).

(Source: Australian Education International)

International Student Enrolments in Australia – 1994 to 2009

Introduction

International student enrolment annual statistics for 1994 to 2009 is summarised in the chart below. It shows sector level data for 1994 to 2009 and combines data from AEI's Overseas Student Statistics series and the Commonwealth Provider Register and International Student Management System (PRISMS). This chart should be used for indicative purposes only. Data for the periods 1994–2001 and 2002–09 are not comparable due to the different sources used to compile the data.

International Student Enrolments in Australia 1994 – 2009

Table and data in pdf format (pdf 25KB)

Table: International Student Enrolments in Australia, 1994 - 2009
International Student Enrolment Graph Australia – 1994-2009

Note: There is a break in series between 2001 and 2002, there have been significant changes in methodology between
2001 and 2002.

1994 to 2001

Data was sourced from the DEEWR Higher Education Statistical Collection, CRICOS, the then Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and AusAID.

From 2002

Onshore student data was derived from the Commonwealth Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS). The data show enrolments across all sectors for all students holding a student visa. These do not cover students on other visas, which in the case of ELICOS, involves a large number of students on tourist visas and, to a lesser extent, working holiday visas. As a general 'rule of thumb', for each ELICOS student on a student visa there is another on a non-student visa.

For further information, please see Explanatory notes for AEI International Student Data.

The data does not cover offshore activity where Australian providers supply education services to foreign students overseas or by distance education where the student remains offshore. Data on offshore activity by Australian higher education institutions is available from the Higher Education Statistical Collection. Data on the Delivery of VET Offshore by Public Providers is available to MIP subscribers.

(Source: Australian Education International)

Explanatory Notes

Explanatory notes for Enrolment Data