Key Points from the Centre for Independent Studies Report …
–mainstream media awoken to the substantial hidden costs from over exposure to overseas students
–universities have badly lowered standards to gain biggest per capita intake of international students
-our universities routinely compromise admissions standards
-international students pay much higher fees
–international students can circumvent English language requirements
–widespread use of commission-based brokers
–the numbers of overseas students studying in Australia began sky-rocketing in 2013 *
–intensity of research collaboration with China; creating holes in our national security
–many international students are using our higher education system for backdoor permanent residency
View the comments link below …
International student fallout becomes too big to ignore
August 26, 2019 | 16 comments
Last week’s damning report on Australia’s international trade from the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) has finally awoken the mainstream media to the substantial hidden costs arising from our universities’ extreme over-exposure to international students.
In its report, the CIS warned that Australia’s universities have badly lowered standards to gain the world’s biggest per capita intake of international students:
Australian universities routinely compromise admissions standards to accommodate international students. Preparatory programs for students with lower English language test scores function as a paid work-around for international students who do not meet admissions standards. By prominently marketing such alternative pathways, Australian universities are in effect taking actions that reduce their financial risks by increasing their standards risks…
Measured on a per capita basis, Australia now hosts more international students than any other major country in the world, as depicted in Figure 2…
The fact that international students pay much higher fees than domestic ones for the same courses strongly incentivises universities to reduce admissions and academic standards to accommodate international students.
Alternative admissions routes that allow international students to circumvent English language requirements and the widespread use of commission-based brokers invite willful negligence and outright abuse, as reported in the ABC Four Corners program ‘Cash Cows’. This program reported on issues at less-prestigious universities like Central Queensland, Southern Cross and Murdoch, but similar issues exist even at Australia’s most highly-respected institutions.
In response, a group of journalists at The SMH penned the following damning expose over the weekend:
Since the numbers of overseas students studying in Australia began sky-rocketing in 2013, bringing billions of dollars with them, there have been concerns the cash bonanza might come at a cost. Universities have been accused of compromising standards, of cosying up to foreign governments to protect lucrative markets, and of unintentionally creating national security problems through their research collaborations…
Some politicians and analysts worry Australian universities have made a strategic mistake in their reliance on international students; that in their efforts to raise funds and get involved in top international research, they have over-reached and left themselves vulnerable. “The universities have sold their souls,” says Clive Hamilton, author of Silent Invasion: China’s Influence In Australia. “They’ve given Beijing, the Chinese Communist Party, a very big lever”.
…reliance on international students forces universities into an exhausting cycle.
To appeal to the overseas student market, a university needs to be high in the global rankings; to climb that ladder, they need to produce internationally-cited research and collaborate with prestigious institutions: to do that, they need to attract top researchers with salaries, teams and facilities; to cover those, they need fees from international students…
Financial vulnerability is one thing. But defence authorities are now worrying about something more difficult to define: that the intensity of research collaboration with China is creating holes in Australia’s national security.
They worry universities are unintentionally allowing sensitive technology and data to pass into the hands of a potentially hostile government…
My cousin, Dr Peter van Onselen, also warned that many international students are using Australia’s higher education system purely for backdoor permanent residency:
Australian universities effectively are being used by governments as a backdoor visa program to pump new money into the economy (the sector is our third largest export industry) and to enlarge the skilled population base paying taxes, to ensure national economic growth prevents us dipping into a technical recession…
We are about to surpass Britain as the nation with the most overseas students. Proportionate to the size of our population, we are already well out in front…
Australian top-tier universities [are] using lower standards of entry than mid-tier lower-ranked universities abroad.
Some Coalition MPs have now also demanded that universities reduce their exposure to international students:
Australian universities have been warned against relying too heavily on any particular group of students to keep their coffers full.
Education Minister Dan Tehan has expressed the sentiment, after one of his colleagues said he believes some universities are too dependent on international students for their livelihood…
Several coalition MPs expressed concerns this weekend about the potential for foreign interference, including from the Chinese Communist Party, at Australian universities.
*None of these issues will be new to readers of MB, given we have been beating the drum on this topic for years.
Nevertheless, it is great to see the international student rort finally reach mainstream consciousness, as well as our enabling politicians.
The international student problem has finally become too big to ignore.
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