Overall, the number of students enrolling on ELICOS courses rose by 4% in 2015 compared to the previous year to a record 170,628, though the increase was down from 11% growth in 2014 and 19% in 2013.
In contrast, student weeks did not display much of a change from the year before, increasing just 0.1% to 2,107,024. The economic impact was also relatively unchanged, generating A$2,074m compared with 2014’s A$2,075m.
“Enrolments are up but average weeks are down, which led to lower economic impact overall”
Brett Blacker, CEO of English Australia, said the overall outcome of the statistics was “positive”.
“The big picture is enrolments are up but average weeks are down, which led to lower economic impact overall,” Blacker told The PIE News. “This was an unexpected result but largely due to the change in nationality mix.”
The Asia Pacific remained the top source region by far, with 116,409 student enrolments – an 8% rise on 2014. The data also found that 43% of all enrolments came from just three countries in this region, China, Japan and South Korea.
China, the top source market, grew by 17%, accounting for over one in five ELICOS student enrolments alone (21%), or 35,528. “The growth in university/higher education pathways for China over recent years has fuelled this growth,” said Blacker.
Meanwhile, student enrolments from Japan and Korea, Australia’s second and third largest source markets, grew by 7% and 16% respectively in 2015. “It was good to see growth in Japan again as the number two source county and a rebound from South Korea,” added Blacker.
Brazil saw the biggest proportional increase out of the top 10 source markets, up an impressive 23% compared to the previous year, to 12,641. Student enrolments from Colombia also jumped 10%.
This contributed to the Americas overtaking Europe as the second largest source region as enrolments reached 24,603, the highest they have ever been.
The top source countries of ELICOS students
The drop in the number of students from Europe however, counteracted this rise. European student enrolments fell 16%, or 4,226 students, to 21,855.
Italy was the top source country for Europe, but enrolments fell 18%, or 1,208.
“Several other key countries significantly dropped in enrolments: Germany (-42%), France (-24%) and Switzerland (-7%),” said Blacker.
“[This reflects] the decline in international visitor numbers from these countries in 2015.”
“It was good to see growth in Japan again as the number two source county and a rebound from South Korea”
The top ten source countries claimed over three quarters (76%) of the total number of student enrolments.
There was also a shift in the study destination of ELICOS students. New South Wales remained the top destination last year with 66,935 enrolments. However, Victoria became the second most popular destination for the students, overtaking Queensland by 2,941 enrolments.
“There has been a focused effort of Victorian institutions and the state government over recent years to grow the profile for international education as the state’s largest service export industry,” said Blacker.
English Australia accounts for 86% of the total number of enrolments in ELICOS courses in the country.