Education minister Julia Gillard told The Australian newspaper that 543,898 international students attended colleges, universities and institutes in Australia last year, making education the country’s third largest export. The industry contributed just over $9 billion US to the nation’s economy.
The Australian reported the Aussie universities are particularly inviting to Asian students and that the falling Australian dollar has made study abroad there more affordable in the past year. Indeed, institutions in Australia saw nearly 55 percent more students from India in 2008 over 2007, with the total number reaching 97,035 for the year.
The 127,276 students from China made up the largest single group of internationals in Australia.
Whether the increases will hold as the recession deepens in 2009 still isn’t known, but education officials believe their industry may weather the downturn more resiliently than most.