Victoria’s international education sector has set records for enrolments and economic impact, cementing the sector’s status as a multi-billion-dollar export earner.

Record figures

New figures show international students from 170 countries accounted for 281,000 enrolments last year, up 11.4 per cent, supporting almost 79,000 Victorian jobs and generating $11.8 billion in export revenue.

“Victoria’s international education sector is going from strength to strength, supporting tens of thousands of direct jobs and breaking export records.” Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula

Revenue for Victoria has increased by 89 per cent since 2014, making international education the state’s largest export category, ahead of tourism ($5.4 billion) and wool ($2.1 billion).

The total number of international students was 227,000, with some enrolled in multiple courses.

The top five countries for onshore students were:

  • China (88,401)
  • India (50,463)
  • Malaysia (16,643)
  • Vietnam (12,763)
  • Sri Lanka (9,541).

The most popular fields of study were:

  • management and commerce (32 per cent)
  • arts and humanities (21 per cent)
  • IT (10 per cent)
  • foundation studies (10 per cent).
Melbourne, Australia for higher education

Victoria is a premium higher education and research destination, with higher education responsible for half of all international student enrolments.

Melbourne is Australia’s top student city as ranked by the QS Best Student Cities 2019 report, where it was also ranked third best student city in the world. That high standing is due to the quality student experience that Victoria offers, enhanced by the Victorian Government’s nation-leading investment in student wellbeing services.

Today, the government announced almost $1 million in International Student Welfare Program grants, supporting 27 projects.

Since 2014, the government has committed $4 million to 104 projects that protect and promote international student wellbeing in areas including sport, work rights, accommodation, legal services and mental health. It also operates the Study Melbourne Student Centre, a central hub on Hardware Lane where students have access to a broad range of free services, face-to-face case management and professional development programs. The centre has helped more than 6300 students since September 2018.

Victoria's largest services export

International education has been Victoria’s largest services export industry for well over a decade. We are home to two of the top 100 globally ranked universities, and a hub of specialist expertise including bio medical technology and health.

“The government’s commitment to delivering an outstanding student experience – from the Study Melbourne Student Centre to the impressive International Student Welfare Grants program – cements our reputation as one of the world’s leading destinations for international students.” Jeffrey Smart, former Vice-President (International and Students) Swinburne University of Technology

International education and research help grow the Victorian economy, particularly in the other priority industry sectors. Some of the co-benefits include an increase in tourism, the attraction and retention of highly skilled international talent, the development of trade and investment connections through the utilisation of alumni, and a more diverse community.

Victorian International Education Awards 2019

Presented by Study Melbourne, the Victorian International Education Awards (VIEA) are an important Victorian Government initiative that shines a light on Victoria’s best and brightest international students, alumni and domestic students involved in internationalisation activities.

Now in its seventh year, VIEA is a testament to Victoria’s reputation as Australia’s best student city. Growing global demand for education services will see over seven million tertiary students studying outside their country of citizenship by 2020. Victoria's worldwide reputation for academic excellence, quality of student experience and innovation places the state in a strong position to capitalise on these demands.

This year features Student Awards and the Premier’s Award. Awards for education providers, which are held every two years, will return in 2020.

Key dates for the Awards

Awards open for application: Friday 19 July 2019
Closing date for application: Friday 9 August 2019
2019 VIEA Ceremony

Want to know more?

For more details about VIEA, visit Study Melbourne's page on VIEA 2019