With Australia experiencing a decline in international student numbers in recent years (due to a multitude of factors, including a poor exchange rate, increasing competition from new study abroad destinations and changes to visa regulations) it has been known for some time within the industry that something needed to be done to buck this trend.
In the last few months the Australian government has been making several gestures to compete for increased international student numbers, the most recent of which is the examination of whether student loans for international students could increase intakes.
Studying abroad, particularly without a scholarship, can be expensive and having to prove the funds in advance is often a barrier to exceptional students being able to afford the costs of studying in another country. This latest project is investigating whether the domestic student loan system could be extended to their international counterparts. The current domestic loan system, known as HECS, allows the student to pay back their tuition fees after they have found employment above a set wage threshold. These ‘income-contingent’ loans are lauded worldwide for their contribution to improving social mobility, allowing capable students regardless of their wealth to improve their prospects with a degree.
Whilst this is only being discussed and researched at present the people involved, in particular Bruce Chapman and Glenn Withers, have a proven record of leading policy change at an international level. Bruce Chapman may be best known for the development of Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) in Australia and Glenn Withers is credited for inventing the points-based immigration system. Both of these ideas have been so successful they have been adopted by several other countries worldwide, including the UK.
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More information on studying in Australia can be seen in our Australia directory.
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