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2007 International Student Enrolments

International student data for 2007 show there were 455,185 enrolments by full-fee international students in Australia on a student visa. This represents a growth of 19.0 per cent over the previous year. Commencements grew by 25.9 per cent in the same period.

Enrolment nationality statistics

Asia remains Australia’s main source of international students, representing more than four out of every five of Australia’s overseas student market. The region was the main source of Australia’s international student market with strong growth recorded from the top four source nationalities. Growth in enrolments was mostly from India (63.9% between 2006 and 2007), China (18.9%), Thailand (11.9%) and the Republic of Korea (11.3%). Within the top 10 markets, Brazil also grew strongly (up 23.4%) in 2007, displacing the United States as the ninth largest source nationality.

Top 10 nationalities for International Student Enrolments in 2007

Nationality Enrolments % of total Growth on 2007
China 107,071 23.5% 18.9%
India 63,604 14.0% 63.9%
Republic of Korea 34,674 7.6% 11.3%
Thailand 19,987 4.4% 11.9%
Malaysia 19,874 4.4% 4.0%
Hong Kong 19,742 4.3% -3.3%
Japan 16,077 3.5% -9.5%
Indonesia 14,919 3.3% -0.5%
Brazil 12,545 2.8% 23.4%
USA 11,822 2.6% -1.8%
Other nationalities 134,870 29.6% 22.5%
All nationalities 455,185 100.0% 19.0%

Overall, the growth outside the top 10 markets for 2007 has been stronger than the growth of the top 10 markets combined (22.5% compared to 17.6%). Nepal sustained its particularly strong growth through the year with an increase of 241.2 per cent (or an increase of 6,525 enrolments over 2006). Other regions and markets with good growth include North Africa and the Middle East (42.7%), Vietnam (44.1%), Sri Lanka (34.7%) and Brazil (23.4%). Some major markets recorded falls in enrolments and they include Hong Kong, Japan, the USA, Taiwan and Singapore.

(Source: Australian Education International)


There was a 25.9 per cent increase in the number of commencements between 2006 and 2007. The three largest source markets—China, India and the Republic of Korea, all showed growth over the previous year (27.9%, 87.8% and 8.6% respectively). In addition, Thailand, Brazil and Malaysia also recorded good commencements growth (14.1%, 19.5% and respectively 10.6%). Commencements from Japan, USA and Hong Kong declined over the year.

The strong growth in commencements from Nepal during the year has seen this market rise to the top 10. Commencements growth in 2007 was 282.9 per cent and represents 5,420 more commencements than in 2006.

Top 10 nationalities for International Student Commencements in 2007

Nationality Commencements % of total Growth on 2007
China 59,048 22.3% 27.9%
India 39,404 14.9% 87.8%
Republic of Korea 20,563 7.8% 8.6%
Thailand 11,948 4.5% 14.1%
USA 9,741 3.7% -2.4%
Japan 9,412 3.6% -10.1%
Brazil 9,198 3.5% 19.5%
Hong Kong 8,920 3.4% -1.1%
Malaysia 8,642 3.3% 10.6%
Nepal 7,336 2.8% 282.9%
Other nationalities 80,197 30.3% 20.5%
All commencements 264,409 100.0% 25.9%

Outside the top ten markets, Vietnam, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia all showed better growth than the top ten nationalities combined, albeit from smaller bases. Although just outside the top 10, commencements from Indonesia grew 6.5 per cent and recorded positive growth for the second half of 2007. Most of this growth was in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sectors. If the commencements growth is sustained next year, further growth in the market from Indonesia will occur.

(Source: Australian Education International)


2007 International Student Enrolments and commencements by sector

Enrolments Commencements
Sector Number % of total Growth
on 2006
Number % of total Growth
on 2006
Higher Education 177,760 39.1% 3.8% 72,603 27.5% 6.6%
VET 121,422 26.7% 45.6% 74,575 28.2% 50.5%
ELICOS 101,824 22.4% 30.7% 80,662 30.5% 34.7%
Schools 27,426 6.0% 11.5% 14,092 5.3% 25.2%
Other 26,753 5.9% 5.6% 22,477 8.5% 5.8%
All sectors 455,185 100.0% 19.0% 264,409 100% 25.9%

Higher Education

In 2007, the Higher Education sector accounted for 39.1 per cent of all international student enrolments. The sector’s share of the international student market has slowly experienced a decline in the last three years although the number of enrolments has continued to increase in absolute terms. The strong growth experienced by the VET and, to a lesser extent, the ELICOS sectors has led to this decline. This trend is likely to continue if the growth in the VET and ELICOS sectors continues at its current rate.

Higher Education enrolments and commencements in 2007 increased by 3.8 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively, on the same period in 2006. Strong growth in commencements was from India, Malaysia, and the Republic of Korea (10.8%, 9.5% and 14.4% respectively). Nepal was the tenth largest market for commencements in the sector. With commencements growth of 140.7 per cent, Nepal had the second highest absolute growth in the sector after India. Other growth markets were Sri Lanka and Vietnam (27.2% and 19.9% respectively), with both just outside the top ten nationalities.

In 2007, the fields of study with the highest growth in the number of commencements in the Higher Education sector were ‘Business Administration and Management’ and ‘Nursing’ (with 1,693 and 683 more commencements respectively on the same period in 2006). In contrast, the field of study with the largest proportion of commencements was ‘Business Administration and Management’ (43.6%). This was followed by ‘Computer Science and Information Systems’ and ‘Engineering and Surveying’ (10.2% and 7.4% respectively).

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

The growth in the VET sector continued in 2007, with enrolments increasing by 45.6 per cent and commencements by 50.6 per cent over the previous year. India recorded the largest increase in the number of commencements in the sector, followed by Nepal and China. In 2007, India had 11,414 more commencements than in 2006, followed by Nepal and China with 3,654 and 2,562 more commencements respectively.

Most commencements in the VET sector were in the fields of ‘Services, Hospitality and Transport’ and ‘Business Administration and Management’ (40.9% and 29.9% respectively). Students from the top three source nationalities (India, China and the Republic of Korea) accounted for almost half (47.7%) of all enrolments in these fields.

ELICOS (English Language Courses for Overseas Students)

The ELICOS sector showed strong enrolments and commencements growth in 2007 (30.7% and 34.7% respectively). Almost two-thirds of the growth in commencements can be attributable to China and India, the largest and third largest ELICOS markets. Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia also showed good growth in commencements, although the latter two were from smaller bases. Enrolments and commencements from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong have declined.


The Schools sector experienced good growth between 2006 and 2007 (11.5% and 25.2% in enrolments and commencements respectively). Enrolments in the sector grew in 2007 after a lengthy period of decline from 2003 to 2006. The growth in the sector was largely driven by China and the Republic of Korea. Vietnam and Germany also showed good growth, albeit from smaller bases.

(Source: Australian Education International)

2007 Monthly Summaries of International Student Enrolment Data

(Source: Australian Education International)

Monthly Time Series of Student Enrolments for 2007 – 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 '2007 Detailed Monthly Tables' section below.

Changes to the monthly data

AEI has made some changes to AEI international student enrolment data to enhance the usefulness of the data to industry. In reponse to industry feedback about the reliablility of current finishes data, these data have been removed from Tables 1 to 6. AEI will investigate whether a more accurate indicator can be used to determine the reason for an enrolment ceasing.

Please click on the images below to view the tables individually or a full set of the tables 1 to 6 (pdf 102KB) 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)

2007 Annual Pivot Table

The pivot tables are compatible with Excel 2003 or later.

  • 2007 Basix 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 2007.
    (zip 558kb, unzipped 4.36MB)
  • 2007 Detailed Annual Pivot Table
    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.
    (zip 9660kb, unzipped 61.9MB) Only available to organisations that have access to the Market 	Information Package (MIP)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2007 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)

2007 State Summaries

2007 State Summary Sheet – New South Wales (pdf 39KB)

2007 State Summary Sheet – Victoria (pdf 40KB)

2007 State Summary Sheet – Queensland (pdf 40KB)

2007 State Summary Sheet – South Australia (pdf 39KB)

2007 State Summary Sheet – Western Australia (pdf 40KB)

2007 State Summary Sheet – Tasmania (pdf 39KB)

2007 State Summary Sheet – Northern Territory (pdf 39KB)

2007 State Summary Sheet – Australian Capitol Territory (pdf 39KB)

(Source: Australian Education International)

2007 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 2007


International student enrolment annual statistics for 1994 to 2007 are summarised in the chart below. It shows sector level data for 1994 to 2007 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 2002–07 are not comparable due to the different sources used to compile the data.

International Student Enrolments in Australia 1994 – 2007

Table and data in pdf format (pdf 24KB)

Table: International Student Enrolments in Australia, 1994 - 2007
International Student Enrolment Graph Australia – 1994-2007

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