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2006 International Student Enrolments

Growth in Australia’s international student enrolments continued during 2006. The latest AEI full year data show continuing steady growth in Australia’s international education market overall. During 2006 there were a total of 383,818 enrolments by full-fee paying international students in Australia. This represents an increase of 10.9% from 2005 and shows stronger growth than the 6.4% recorded between 2004 and 2005.


The strongest enrolment growth in 2006 was in the vocational education and ELICOS sectors (25.7% and 19.2% respectively).

This continued the growth experienced in both of these sectors during 2005. The higher education sector also grew by 5.2%, which is down on the 8.1% increase between 2004 and 2005. However, commencement growth (which basically measures new business) was at 4.9%, a marked improvement on the -0.2% experienced in 2005. Enrolments growth in the schools sector was negative (-1.7%), although this is also an improvement on the -8.0% growth in 2005. Commencements in the schools sector was 7.7%, the highest experienced since 2003.


Strong growth continues from India (41.9%), China (10.5%) and the Republic of Korea (18.8%). This continues the growth shown by these markets in the previous three years. This growth was slightly offset by falls in enrolments from other markets such as Indonesia (-6.7%), Singapore (-6.7%), Hong Kong (-3.8 %) and Malaysia (-1.0)%. These more traditional markets have now experienced successive years of negative growth. Thailand, another traditional market, has rebounded from earlier slowing of growth to record an 8.3% rise in enrolments.

Other markets which recorded strong enrolment growth in 2006 included Brazil (43.9%), the Middle East (35.7%), Vietnam (27.5%), Sri Lanka (31.6%), Canada (10.7%), Pakistan (38.2%) and Colombia (72.7%).

States and Territories

New South Wales and Victoria continue to attract most international student enrolments with two in three (67.4%) enrolments recorded in those states. These two states have also shown good growth in enrolments with 11.8% for New South Wales and 13.3% for Victoria. All other states and territories recorded growth between 2005 and 2006, with Queensland and South Australia in particular recording good growth of 8.7% and 14.1% respectively.

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 (25.7% of all enrolments), Non-award (25.7%) and Masters Coursework (15.2%).

Growth was also experienced with student enrolments rising by 3.0%, 13.9% and 7.8% respectively for each levels of study.

Although accounting for relatively smaller segments of the market, very strong growth in enrolments were recorded for the levels of study Diploma (20.2%) and Advanced Diploma (36.4%).

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 20.3%. Both fields experienced good enrolment growth over 2005, with 11.2% and 18.8% respectively.

Other fields that experienced strong growth in 2006 were Services, Hospitality, Transport (60.1%), Health, Community Services (25.5%) and Nursing (35.4%).

(Source: Australian Education International)

2006 Monthly Summaries of International Student Enrolment Data

(Source: Australian Education International)

Monthly Time Series of Student Enrolments for 2006 – 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 '2006 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 131KB) 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)

2006 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.

  • 2006 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 2006. (zip 425kb, unzipped 37.4 MB)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2006 Annual Tables

Detailed tables are available individually below, or as a complete set (pdf 98KB).

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)

2006 State Summaries

2006 State Summary Sheet – New South Wales (pdf 39KB)

2006 State Summary Sheet – Victoria (pdf 40KB)

2006 State Summary Sheet – Queensland (pdf 40KB)

2006 State Summary Sheet – South Australia (pdf 39KB)

2006 State Summary Sheet – Western Australia (pdf 40KB)

2006 State Summary Sheet – Tasmania (pdf 39KB)

2006 State Summary Sheet – Northern Territory (pdf 39KB)

2006 State Summary Sheet – Australian Capitol Territory (pdf 39KB)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2006 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.

(Source: Australian Education International)

International Student Enrolments in Australia – 1994 to 2006


International student enrolment annual statistics for 1994 to 2006 are summarised in the chart below. It shows sector level data for 1994 to 2006 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 2002–06 are not comparable due to the different sources used to compile the data.

International Student Enrolments in Australia 1994 – 2006

Table and data in pdf format (pdf 24KB)

Table: International Student Enrolments in Australia, 1994 - 2006
International Student Enrolment Graph Australia – 1994-2006

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