Education group secures $1.3m from state

06/07/2009 - 13:44

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Perth Education City (PEC) has secured a $325,000 grant and "in principle" funding of a further $1 million from the state government to promote Western Australia's international education sector this financial year.

Education group secures $1.3m from state

Perth Education City (PEC) has secured a $325,000 grant and "in principle" funding of a further $1 million from the state government to promote Western Australia's international education sector this financial year.

In its first application for funding to a Liberal state government, PEC - a joint industry-government initiative comprised of a membership of private and public universities, colleges and schools - had sought $2 million a year for the next two years.

PEC chairman Professor Gary Martin said he was content with the amount despite it being below expectations.

"I have no doubt that there were many important funding priorities during the recent state government budget, however, in awarding funds for Western Australia's international education, the government has clearly considered the strategic significance and benefits of the industry to Western Australia," said Professor Martin, who is also deputy vice-chancellor of Murdoch University.

A recent Access Economics report found that the international education industry was the country's third biggest export industry, behind coal and iron ore, with a $14 billion contribution to the economy.

Professor Martin said the funding was a very worthwhile investment as international students studying in WA had a projected expenditure of around $1 billion a year through tuition, housing, travel, entertainment and travel expenses.

The full-fee paying international students, who pay upwards of $20,000 a year in tuition alone, can generate up to 25 per cent of a university's revenue. On rare occasions this figure can surpass 50 per cent.

Education minister Liz Constable recently said WA could improve because it had a relatively low share of international student enrolments from the key markets of China (4.7 per cent) and India (5.1 per cent) compared to the other states.

Professor Martin said he was confident that national publicity over violence against international students would not dissuade students from continuing to come to WA.

He said PEC members contribute about $4 to every $1 received by the state government towards promoting the sector to overseas students.

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