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2005 International Student Enrolments

Growth in Australia’s international student enrolments continues. The latest AEI full year data for 2005 shows continuing steady growth in Australia’s international education market overall. During 2005 there were a total of 344,815 enrolments by full-fee overseas students in Australia. This represents an increase of 7.0% from 2004 and shows slightly stronger growth than the 5.9% recorded between 2003 and 2004.


The strongest enrolment growth in 2005 was in the vocational education and higher education sectors (13.9% and 8.3% respectively).

The ELICOS sector grew by 6.3%, however, the schools sector performed poorly against the other sectors with negative growth at -8.2%.


Strong growth in the market continues from India (33.5%), China (17.8%), and South Korea (10.9%). In particular, the growth from India and China continues the strong growth shown in the previous two years. The growth in those markets was slightly offset by falls in enrolments from other markets such as Indonesia (-11.1%), Singapore (-8.7%), and Hong Kong (-7.6%). Some of these countries in Australia’s traditional markets have shown successive years of negative growth.

Countries which recorded strong enrolment growth in 2005 but were outside the top 10 countries include Brazil (49.8%), Vietnam (15.3%) and Germany (12.5%).

From a regional perspective, some regions grew significantly. North Africa and the Middle East recorded growth of 23.7% and The Americas, 12.5%. However, enrolments from Oceania and Antarctica, and Southern and Eastern Europe fell by 8.0% and 3.0% respectively.

States and Territories

New South Wales and Victoria continue to attract most overseas enrolments with two in three (66.5%) enrolments recorded in those states. The two states have also shown good growth in enrolments with 8.1% for New South Wales and 6.3% for Victoria. Other states are also showing signs of good growth. South Australia and Tasmania recorded enrolment growth of 16.9% and 11.1% respectively, and Queensland, 5.1%. All other states recorded some positive growth on 2004 enrolments.

For more detailed state-specific information, refer to the State Summary Sheets section below.

Level of Study

The three levels of study which attracted the highest student enrolments in 2005 accounted for more than two-thirds of all student enrolments. They were Bachelor Degree (27.8% of all enrolments), Non-award (24.7%) and Masters Coursework (15.8%). Good growth was also experienced with student enrolments rising by 5.2%, 5.8% and 14.1% respectively for each level of study.

Although relatively smaller segments of the market, very strong growth in enrolments were recorded for Masters Preliminary (47.7%) and Advanced Diploma (40.1%) levels of study.

Broad Field of Study

One in four (26.9%) enrolments is in the field of Business Administration, Management and the field with the next highest level of enrolments is ELICOS with 18.8%. Both fields experienced good enrolment growth over 2004, with 12.0% and 6.3% respectively.

Other fields that experienced strong growth in 2005 are Services, Hospitality, Transport (42.6%) and Nursing (42.3%).

(Source: Australian Education International)

2005 Monthly Summaries of International Student Enrolment Data

(Source: Australian Education International)

Monthly Time Series of Student Enrolments for 2005 – 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 '2005 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 75KB) are available to download.

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

(Source: Australian Education International)

2005 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.

  • 2005 Basic Annual Pivot Table
    Includes the variables Sector, Nationality, State and Territory and Region for year-to-date enrolments and commencements for the years 2002 to 2005.
    (zip 389KB)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2005 Annual Tables

Detailed tables are available individually below, or as a complete set (pdf 96KB).

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)

2005 State Summaries

2005 State Summary Sheet – New South Wales (pdf 38KB)

2005 State Summary Sheet – Victoria (pdf 39KB)

2005 State Summary Sheet – Queensland (pdf 39KB)

2005 State Summary Sheet – South Australia (pdf 39KB)

2005 State Summary Sheet – Western Australia (pdf 39KB)

2005 State Summary Sheet – Tasmania (pdf 39KB)

2005 State Summary Sheet – Northern Territory (pdf 39KB)

2005 State Summary Sheet – Australian Capitol Territory (pdf 39KB)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2005 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. They count 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 that have access to Austrade's Market Information Package (MIP).

(Source: Australian Education International)

International Student Enrolments in Australia – 1994 to 2005


International student enrolment annual statistics for 2002 to 2005 are summarised below. They continue AEI's Overseas Student Statistics series – with some important changes that cause a break in the series. The following chart shows sector level data for 1994 to 2005.

International Student Enrolments in Australia 1994 – 2005

Table and data in pdf format (pdf 24KB)

Table: International Student Enrolments in Australia, 1994 - 2005
International Student Enrolment Graph Australia – 1994-2005

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

From 2002

  • Onshore student data is derived only from the Commonwealth Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS) rather than being compiled from multiple sources;
  • Rather than distributing non-award student enrolments across the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) sectors, they are now recorded in a separate category;
  • The data drawn from PRISMS is significantly more accurate and complete than the previous method of obtaining data from Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMA);
  • Data is available monthly as well as yearly and now includes commencements and cessations with progressive year to date (YTD) totals; and
  • For the first time, all sector, course, and nationality data is compiled from the same source using the same methodology making country level analysis more reliable.

These statistics are drawn from AEI’s new student enrolment database for the years 2002 to 2005. These statistics are derived from PRISMS. Previously data was compiled from mixed sources such as visa data from DIMA and data from the Higher Education Statistical Collection.

The data shows enrolments for all students holding a student visa – it does 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 maker visas. As a general 'rule of thumb', for each ELICOS student on a student visa there is another on a non-student visa.

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.

(Source: Australian Education International)

Explanatory Notes

Explanatory notes for Enrolment Data