May 14, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Australia's recent surge of international students--some of whom comprise up to 25 percent of the population at some universities--is fueling the country's overall population, too. 

According to Australia's ABC.net website, international student numbers rose by 12 percent this year, with the explosion expected to continue. 

They report that the Department of Education's shows a combined enrollment of 542,054 enrollments at Australian universities, private colleges, English language courses, and other institutions of higher education. Five years ago, that number was 305,354 enrollments. 

Where do the students come from? Thirty-one percent of Australia's international population hails from China, with India, Nepal, Malaysia, and Vietnam trailing closely behind.

The increase also reflects Australia's efforts to diversify its applicant pool, with students also from Brazil, Colombia, and Bhutan.

According to ABC.net, Grattan Institute higher education program director Andrew Norton said, "Because the Government has effectively capped the number of domestic students, international students are becoming an increasing percentage of all students." He added, "A lot of that revenue to universities is being invested in building and in research activities."

He also noted that most of the international students are concentrated at the Group of Eight universities and schools of technology. He said, "That means there are huge numbers of international students living in the inner cities of Australia's big capitals."

Experts estimate that international students bring in over $30 billion per year to Australia. This influx has made an impact on the Australian economy, especially in terms of the rental market. 

According to ABC.net, Universities Australia's chief executive Belinda Robinson said,  "We have almost doubled enrolments over the past decade and built international education into Australia's third-largest export sector.

"This supports Australian communities, jobs, regional economies and our relationships in the world.

"These half a million international students will become tomorrow's global leaders, returning home as informal ambassadors for Australia and extending our nation's worldwide networks in business, diplomacy, and politics."

Learn more about studying in Australia. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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