20 November 1998

UQ international student enrolments rise despite Asian economic crisis

Australia's 1998 University of the Year, the University of Queensland, this year has increased its total international student enrolments by 11 percent compared to 1997.

This is despite uncertainties following the Asian economic crisis.

Director of International Education Chris Madden said 2029 students were enrolled in award and non-award Study Abroad courses, compared with 1829 students in 1997.

Mr Madden said there was strong growth in postgraduate students in 1998 with a 27 percent increase in Master's by Coursework enrolments and a 21 percent lift in bachelor's honours enrolments.

"Postgraduate enrolments now account for 41.5 percent of all overseas student enrolments at the University of Queensland," Mr Madden said.

"This reflects the University's reputation as a world-class research institution."

Mr Madden said the University was looking for opportunities to twin with overseas institutions so students could complete part of their diplomas or degrees with the University of Queensland, and part with their home institutions.

"Our clients are changing," he said. "Increasingly, and partly because of our emphasis on postgraduate research students, they are older, professional middle management people, who want to complete courses as quickly as possible.

"They are increasingly attracted to offshore programs which allow them to get an Australian degree while staying at home, in their jobs."

Flexible delivery options were increasingly important, as many students wanted to study an Australian degree in Australia, but often could not afford it.

Mr Madden said there was an increase of students through aid programs, and in Asian markets, a decrease in growth rates of individual students who enrolled as private fee-paying students.

The University faculties with the largest increases in new international student enrolments were Business Economics and Law(26 percent) Social and Behavioural Sciences (19 percent) and Arts (17 percent), reflecting an emphasis on diversifying the courses for which international students are enrolling.

Students were attracted from more than 80 international destinations, with largest numbers for award courses coming from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong.

University Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education (ICTE) director Christine Bundesen said that individual student enrolment numbers in English language training programs at ICTE had decreased markedly in 1998 as a result of the Asian economic crisis.

"In response to this situation, ICTE has broadened its marketing and promotional activities to non-affected Asian countries, Europe and South America, with efforts starting to show results," she said.

For further information, contact Mr Madden, telephone 07 3365 1662 or Ms Bundesen, telephone 07 3365 6500.