Universities big players in economy

AUSTRALIA’S universities contribute $10.6 billion annually to the Australian economy

– about 2 per cent of gross domestic product – with a total economic impact of over $22 billion, according to university research.

The research report Of Dollars and Cents: Valuing the Economic Contribution of Universities to the Australian Economy was conducted by Curtin University’s Research Institute into International Competitiveness on behalf of the Business-Higher Education Round Table.

According to IRIC director Peter Kenyon, the study shows education of international students now rivals wool as a major export industry.

“Education is a good investment for the Federal Government as well, showing a 10 per cent return on its investment, and the results confirm that tertiary education is big business,” Professor Kenyon said.

“It is essential that Australia’s universities are seen by our political leaders as an important industry, both in terms of their contribution to the national economy, the economic returns on government investment, and as exporters.”

About 770,000 students are educated in Australian universities with more than 82,000 from overseas.

Universities generate about $1.8 billion in export revenue from fees and other expenditure by international students and their visitors.

This is about two-thirds the value of the nation’s wool clip and accounts for 2.3 per cent

of Australia’s exports and about 10 per cent of service exports.

“Universities add about $9.3 billion in additional net ‘human capital’, the value to the economy of the skills imparted, for each of its graduating classes through the sector’s teaching and learning activities,” Professor Kenyon said.

Federal Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs David Kemp said, when launching the report, that the large growth in the sector meant new challenges.

“In the last decade alone, total higher enrolments increased by over a quarter of a million – an average annual rate of 6 per cent,” Dr Kemp said.

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9th-Central Regional TAFE10,000
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