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International HE enrolments likely to tick up

The Australian    |    22 February 2013

Prospects for international higher education are positive despite last year’s downturn, according to Ian Watt, head of international operations and student recruitment at the Australian National University, who says student enquiry rates are much healthier than enrolment figures suggest.

English language colleges have benefited from higher education’s upturn, with new student numbers rising 4 per cent last year despite flat visa figures.  Experts attribute this to intending university students tacking on English language study under ‘packaged’ higher education visas.

Higher education enrolments fell 4% last year on the back of a 6% decline in new students, Australian Education International statistics show.

However, applications to study higher education in the second half of last year were 10% up on the corresponding period of 2011, with applications lodged outside Australia rising 22%.   According to Watt, from a higher education perspective the Immigration Department data is very encouraging, because offshore is what counts.

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