Number of Chinese students in Australia 2010-2017, by education sector

There were more than two million Chinese students in Australia in 2017, with approximately 1.4 million enrolled in the higher education sector alone. This high figure is largely in part to many institutions readily accepting international students, as well as the use of English as the main language in most educational courses. The limited amount of university spots in China due to its large population also forces Chinese students to look overseas for education opportunities.

Demographic of international students in Australia

  Australia has the largest proportion of international students in higher education, with almost a third of all higher education students in the country being international students. Furthermore, Chinese students make up the biggest share of these international students, with almost three times as many students as second-placed India.

Education as a source of income

  While the cost of education is regulated for local students, universities in Australia can set their own prices for internationals. This creates a market where institutions are permitted to set prices to match the high demand for education. In 2017, the export income from international education activity in Australia was approximately 30 billion Australian dollars. Despite this high cost of entry, there is still plenty of demand with some universities such as the University of South Australia having more than 40 percent of its students coming from overseas.

Number of Chinese students in Australia from 2010 to 2017, by education sector (in 1,000s)*

Higher educationVET**SchoolsELICOS***Non-award
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Release date

January 2018



Survey time period

2010 to 2017

Supplementary notes

*Data reflects student enrolments in Australia. Country of origin is based on citizenship, not permanent home residence.
** Vocational Education and Training
*** English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students
Figures have been rounded.

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