International student applications to study in Australia have crashed, dropping by 51 per cent since March 2021, according to SaaS-based recruitment marketplace, Adventus.io.
In comparison, the international student market in Canada, during the same period, grew by 148 per cent, in the UK it grew by 150 per cent and in the US it grew by a whopping 422 per cent.
According to Adventus.io co-founder and CEO Ryan Trainor, these markets are benefiting from Australia’s strict border closures and prolonged uncertainty.
“Universities across the US, UK and Canada are benefiting from Australia being taken out of the mix and seeing a significant surge in international student applications,” he said.
“This is concerning as international students typically account for 30-40 per cent of a university’s revenue — they need strong pipelines of international student applications to thrive.”
Senuri Peiris, a Sri Lankan international student studying an MBA highlights the spike in Australian tuition fees as another factor preventing students from investing in Australian education.
“The tuition fee hike really makes it difficult and the situation is further exacerbated by the local currency instability in Sri Lanka. Online courses are not worth the investment, it makes more sense for me to continue studies in Sri Lanka instead. I hope to pursue studies in Australia once the situation is less disadvantageous," he says.
According to Adventus.io data, the UK remains the top destination market for international students, with the US in second place, followed by Canada.
“As we start to live with COVID, we need to see a concerted effort to entice international students back to Australia. Australian universities will need to harness the power of technology to drive demand and fill their student pipeline to help them return to pre-COVID levels of international students before it is too late,” said Trainor.
Unsurprisingly in the context of the pandemic, healthcare has experienced the highest growth in application share, jumping from 9.76 per cent to 20 per cent of international student applications between September 2020 and September 2021. The data reveals that the most popular courses for international students in Australia include business, IT, science and engineering.
Another Sri Lankan MBA student Natasha Amarasinghe claims that the benefits of an Australian education do not, under current arrangements, outweigh the deficits.
"I was originally planning on pursuing graduate studies in Australia. However, due to the many disadvantages that a student is forced to face in the process of migration on top of tuition fees going up in this uncertain environment, I have decided that the benefit does not outweigh the cost to migrate due to the overall lack of clarity of the process of migration."
Adventus.io has today launched Adventus Drive, a suite of data-driven tools designed to assist institutions in recruiting international students.
The company said the advanced analytic capability in its platform will help institutions make data-driven decisions at every stage of the recruitment funnel and understand where they can make the most impact. "This helps them track search results, course card views, applications submitted and conversions."
The tool works to provide institutions with insight into their prospective students, including demographics such as age, gender, country and application status, according to a statement announcing the release.
“Institutions can also elevate their brand and increase visibility to maximise relevant applications from key and emerging source markets.”