Market Information Package   |   Login to the MIP   |   Join

Growth and opportunity in Australian international education

Austrade commissioned Deloitte Access Economics and EduWorld to explore the opportunity for the future growth of the international education sector. Growth and Opportunity in Australian International Education (PDF, 1.64MB) seeks to form an evidence base for potential growth in both onshore education delivery and borderless delivery (in-market and online). The research considers 29 markets, with the summary findings set out below.

The research considers ‘how’ opportunity might emerge, highlighting that the challenge now is to refine that opportunity into its most prospective form for Australia based on relative size and sector, and to create the right supply-side conditions to enable the sector to pursue these opportunities. Austrade is taking forward this refinement of opportunities as part of work under AIE2025. The findings of the report may help to stimulate the sector to consider their own target markets and opportunities for further growth and/or diversification.

Map legend
Pop 15-29: Urban 15-29 year old population (‘000s)
GDP growth: Annual GDP growth per capita in MEDSEC terms. MESDC = Major English Speaking Destination Countries. This is a GDP per capita index, adjusted for the MESDC currencies, weighted by ‘market share’ of international students that country.
2025 Enrolm’t: Total Forecast onshore enrolments (2025)
Prospects: Market prospects in 2015 based on GDP growth forecasts and current policy settings described in Austrade’s in-country intelligence.

  • High – strong economic and student growth prospects, government policy and regulations are supportive of international education, and/or there is geographic proximity to Australia
  • Medium – moderate economic growth prospects, current international student numbers are moderate relative to potential opportunity, and/or government policy and regulations are neutral
  • Low – weak economic and student growth prospects, government policy and regulations are not supportive of international education, there are weak institutions, and/or it is not geographically proximate to Australia

Key conclusions of the report

  • Australia’s onshore international education sector is forecast to grow from 650,000 enrolments today to 940,000 by 2025 (which equates to a compounding annual growth rate of 3.8 per cent).
  • The international education sector’s contribution to export earnings is expected to almost double to in excess of $33 billion by 2025.
  • The top eight source markets for onshore international learner enrolments across all sectors in 2025 are expected to be China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Nepal, Malaysia, Brazil and South Korea. Much of the growth in onshore learner enrolments will be driven by Asia – in particular China, India, Nepal, Vietnam and Thailand.
  • Over the period to 2025, the fastest growing sectors in onshore international education are expected to be higher education and VET (in percentage terms). By 2025, these two sectors are expected to account for 72 per cent of all onshore international learner enrolments.
  • China is set to remain Australia’s largest source market for onshore enrolments in 2025 and is expected to occupy the largest number of higher education, schooling and ELICOS enrolments. The largest number of VET onshore enrolments in 2025 are forecast to come from India (16 per cent), Thailand (eight per cent) and South Korea (seven per cent).

Download the Growth and Opportunity in Australian International Education report (PDF, 1.64MB).