Cullen said enroling a large number of domestic students provides an option to those who finish high school and can’t get direct entry into university while also giving international students an opportunity to integrate with locals.
“It adds enormous value into the college,” he explained.
“International and domestic pathway students benefit similarly from the diversity in the classroom”
“Not just for being able to address the needs of those learners but from an international student perspective, being able to say when you come and study with us, a quarter of your class is going to be Australian students.”
“It is all about integrating with local students, making friends and that’s just been a real advantage that we have had over a lot of our competitors,” he added.
Cullen explained that due to the academic year cycle, the first semester intake is always the largest, with a few colleges seeing Australian students make up 50% of this intake.
Numbers vary depending on the college though with domestic students making up 25% of total enrolments on average, according to John Wood, head of university programmes Australasia at Navitas.
Wood added that enroling domestic students allows the university to maintain their entrance requirements “while growing the domestic load in the second year”.
“International and domestic pathway students benefit similarly from the diversity in the classroom, better preparing both cohorts for their future university studies – and the workplace – with individuals from a variety of backgrounds,” Wood told The PIE News.
The model also helps to forge friendships between international and domestic students said Wood.
While this approach is mainly used in its Australian centres, Cullen said that it is also being adopted in the UK.
“At the programme we run in Cambridge, in the October intake I think they’ve got about 16 domestic students,” he said.
“And a couple of the other UK partners are looking into moving into that area as well.”
Wood added: “It’s certainly possible that we could extend this approach into other regions in the future.”
Read the full PIE Chat interview with Tony Cullen here.