Jul 12, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

As Australia's population continues to boom, so too does its international student population. The country saw a 12 percent increase last year, with no end in sight. Those students make a significant economic impact on the economy.

Australia's Financial Review recently reported that at the end of March of this year, there were 800,000 international students in the country, or about 3.5 percent of the population. 

That's a $30 billion injection into the economy. 

They report that Macquarie Research estimated that higher education exports comprise 10 percent of GDP growth in 2017. This significant contribution has altered the housing demand and the labor market significantly. 

Australia's International Education Association's chief executive, Phil Honeywood said, "You only have to look at the number of purpose-built accommodation towers in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne to see overseas students spend a lot of money apart from tuition and fees."

He added that Australian business now faces the challenge of creating "smart cities," which will attract students.

He argues that accommodations are key. In the Financial Review, he said, "They want buildings with theatrettes, games rooms for table tennis and basketball, lounges where you can work in groups, wi-fi, no big shared kitchens, air conditioning and double beds. And if the accommodation is not what they expect, they move on."

The executive director of the Regional Universities Network, Caroline Perkins said that in 2015, each international student in a regional city spent an estimated $27,000 on tuition and other expenses.

Universities Australia's chief executive designate Catriona Jackson said that there's "enormous value" in bringing international students to Australia. 

She said, "Last year alone, international students brought more than $30 billion into the Australian economy — more than half of that went directly to buying goods and services during their stay."

"But what international students contribute to Australia is greater than dollars and cents — they forge links between our country and the world, from the very personal to, eventually, broader diplomatic and trade ties."  

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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