International student data 2005


This page presents statistics for the 2005 annual data drawn from AEI's student enrolment database. Selected time-series statistics are also presented.

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    2005 international student enrolments

    Growth in Australia’s international student enrolments continued. The latest AEI full year data for 2005 showed continuing steady growth in Australia’s international education market overall. During 2005 there were a total of 344 815 enrolments by full-fee overseas students in Australia. This represents an increase of 7.0 per cent from 2004 and shows slightly stronger growth than the 5.9 per cent recorded between 2003 and 2004.


    The strongest enrolment growth in 2005 was in the vocational education and higher education sectors (13.9 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively). The ELICOS sector grew by 6.3 per cent; however, the schools sector performed poorly against the other sectors with negative growth at 8.2 per cent.


    Strong growth in the market continues from India (33.5 per cent), China (17.8 per cent) and South Korea (10.9 per cent). In particular, the growth from India and China continues in comparison with the strong growth shown in the previous two years. The growth in those markets was slightly offset by falls in enrolments from other markets such as Indonesia (11.1 per cent), Singapore (8.7 per cent) and Hong Kong (7.6 per cent). Some of these countries in Australia’s traditional markets have shown successive years of negative growth.

    Countries, which recorded strong enrolment growth in 2005, but were outside the top 10 countries, include Brazil (49.8 per cent), Vietnam (15.3 per cent) and Germany (12.5 per cent).

    From a regional perspective, some regions grew significantly. North Africa and the Middle East recorded growth of 23.7 per cent and the Americas, 12.5 per cent. However, enrolments from Oceania and Antarctica, and Southern and Eastern Europe fell by 8.0 per cent and 3.0 per cent respectively.

    States and territories

    New South Wales and Victoria continue to attract most overseas enrolments with two in three (66.5 per cent) enrolments recorded in those states. The two states have also shown good growth in enrolments with 8.1 per cent for New South Wales and 6.3 per cent for Victoria. Other states are also showing signs of good growth. South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland recorded enrolment growth of 16.9 per cent, 11.1 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively. All other states recorded some positive growth on 2004 enrolments.

    For more detailed state-specific information, refer to the State Summary Sheets section below.

    Level of study

    The three levels of study, which attracted the highest student enrolments in 2005, accounted for more than two-thirds of all student enrolments. They were Bachelor's Degree (27.8 per cent of all enrolments), Non-award (24.7 per cent) and Master's Coursework (15.8 per cent). Good growth was also experienced with student enrolments rising by 5.2 per cent, 5.8 per cent and 14.1 per cent respectively for each level of study.

    Although relatively smaller segments of the market, very strong growth in enrolments were recorded for Master's Preliminary (47.7 per cent) and Advanced Diploma (40.1 per cent) levels of study.

    Broad field of study

    One in four (26.9 per cent) enrolments is in the field of Business Administration, Management and the field with the next highest level of enrolments is ELICOS with 18.8 per cent. Both fields experienced good enrolment growth over 2004, with 12.0 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively.

    Other fields that experienced strong growth in 2005 are Services, Hospitality, Transport (42.6 per cent) and Nursing (42.3 per cent).

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    2005 annual pivot table


    2005 annual pivot table

    (zip 389kb)

    Includes the variables Sector, Nationality, State and Territory and Region for year-to-date enrolments and commencements for the years 20022005.

    AEI advises that the pivot table is compatible with Excel 2003 or later.

    To assist you with using the AEI pivot tables is the AEI user guide to international student data, which provides some basics to get you started with using the pivot tables.

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    2005 annual tables

    Detailed tables are available individually below,  or as a complete set (pdf 96kb).

    Table A: Student enrolments in Australia from top 10 source countries, 20022005 (pdf 22kb)

    Table B: Time series of overseas student enrolments in Australia by country, 20022005 (pdf 33kb)

    Table C: Time series of overseas student enrolments in Australia by state/territory, 20022005 (pdf 22kb)

    Table D: Overseas student enrolments in Australia by country and state/territory, 20042005 (pdf 32kb)

    Table E: Time series of overseas student enrolments in Australia by major sector, 20022005 (pdf 22kb)

    Table F: Overseas student enrolments in Australia by country and major sector, 20042005 (pdf 37kb)

    Table G: Overseas student enrolments in Australia by state/territory and major sector, 20022005 (pdf 19kb)

    The pivot table used to produce Tables AG is included below. It contains the variables Sector, Nationality and Year, and refers to enrolments and commencements year-to-date December data.

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    2005 state summaries


  • New South Wales (pdf 38kb)
  • Victoria (pdf 39kb)
  • Queensland (pdf 39kb)
  • South Australia (pdf 39kb)
  • Western Australia (pdf 39kb)
  • Tasmania (pdf 39kb)
  • Northern Territory (pdf 39kb)
  • Australian Capital Territory (pdf 39kb)
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    2005 detailed monthly data 

    Detailed monthly tables of international student data are available here.

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    International student enrolments in Australia, 20022005



    International student enrolment annual statistics for 20022005 are summarised below. They continue AEI's Overseas Student Statistics series  with some important changes that cause a break in the series. The following chart shows sector level data for 19942005.

    International student enrolments in Australia, 19942005

    Please select the image below to view the table and its data (pdf 24kb)

    International Student Enrolments in Australia 1994-2005

    Note: there have been significant changes in methodology between 2001 and 2002.

    From 2002:

    Onshore student data is derived only from the Commonwealth Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS), rather than being compiled from multiple sources.

    Rather than distributing non-award student enrolments across the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) sectors, they are now recorded in a separate category.

  • The data drawn from PRISMS is significantly more accurate and complete than the previous method of obtaining data from Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMA).
  • Data is available monthly, as well as yearly, and now includes commencements and cessations with progressive year to date (YTD) totals.
  • For the first time, all Sector, Course and Nationality data are compiled from the same source using the same methodology making country level analysis more reliable.
  • These statistics are drawn from AEI’s new student enrolment database for the years 2002-2005. These statistics are derived from PRISMS. Previously data was compiled from mixed sources such as visa data from DIMA and data from the Higher Education Statistical Collection.

    The data shows enrolments for all students holding a student visa. It does not cover students on other visas, which in the case of ELICOS, involves a large number of students on tourist visas and, to a lesser extent, working holiday maker visas. As a general 'rule of thumb', for each ELICOS student on a student visa there is another on a non-student visa.

    The data does not cover offshore activity where Australian providers supply education services to foreign students overseas or by distance education where the student remains offshore. Data on offshore activity by Australian higher education institutions is available from the Higher Education Statistical Collection.

    For further information, please see Explanatory notes for AEI international student data.

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