Thursday, December 13, 2018

Australian universities fear vulnerability re: international enrollment

Many Australian universities, including the most elite, have grown their international enrollment in recent years. The increased enrollment has even resulted in proposals to encourage students to study outside of urban areas such as Sydney. This has been great for budgets but some higher education officials are concerned that a) quality standards may have been compromised and b) institutions have become too dependent on international students to balance their budgets.

The questions being raised in Australia are echoed throughout the world, even if to a lesser degree. If growing international student numbers in the higher education context is primarily about business and money, shouldn't these institutions be treated as "for profit" at least in relation to international enrollment? And, shouldn't these institutions be evaluated and compared on business metrics such as international student satisfaction, retention/graduation, and return on investment (assurance of jobs when degrees are completed)? If the driver is money, then the judgment related to product quality should be transparent and readily available to customers (i.e. students/families).

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