The international education industry is in the middle of a perfect storm which is unlikely to subside for some time, according to a leading economist.
Speaking at the Australian Tourism Export Council Meeting Place Conference in Sydney yesterday, Access Economics director Chris Richardson told delegates international education had been a success story for Australia in the last decade, providing a world class education cheaper than the US and UK.
However, he said policy changes aimed at loosening the link between study and permanent residency, college closures, rising visa costs and the recent spate of attacks on Indian students had all combined to damage the country’s reputation among prospective students. He added:
Add in the soaring Australian dollar and education elsewhere is more competitive than it used to be. And this lingers, because if a student decides not to take up a three-year course, the impact is felt for three years.”
Richardson said interest rates are likely to rise further while the dollar will remain high for another year before tailing off as interest rates start to rise in the rest of the developed world.
He added: “We are going to enter the next phase of the resources boom without the people power because migrants aren’t politically popular and interest rates will head up further.”