Seven Australian universities are at risk of losing their Top 100 World Rankings due to an ‘over-reliance’ on international students from China.
Australian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor and President Greg Craven said local universities are ‘addicted’ to Chinese students, who pay $7billion to study in Australia each year.
Making matters worse, the Chinese Ministry of Education warned its students against studying in Australia amid a trade war between the two countries.
Australian Catholic University Vice-Chancellor and President Greg Craven (pictured) said local universities are ‘addicted’ to Chinese students, who pay $7billion to study in Australia each year
‘The old system of relying on international students is over, it’s finished,’ Mr Craven said, according to The Australian.
‘The wider market has collapsed and there is no certainty about when it will come back. And with the Chinese market — which universities were reliant on — there is not just the issue of Covid but possibly sovereign risk.
‘They (university leaders) all knew about the issue with China. I would go on panels and publicly warn about this, and the other vice-chancellors would say nothing. It was like a drug-addiction.’
Mr Craven said Australian universities will be forced to reduce their spending and will therefore lose their Top 100 rankings.
Seven Australian universities are in the QS World University Rankings for 2021.
They are, in order, the Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, the University of NSW, the University of Queensland, Monash University, and the University of Western Australia.
The only Group of Eight university not included in the Top 100 was the University of Adelaide, which was ranked 106.
A group of women at their graduation ceremony at the ACU. Mr Craven predicts Go8 universities will lower their admission marks in order to poach domestic students from mid-tier institutions like ACU
AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES IN THE WORLD TOP 100
- ANU (Rank 31)
- University of Sydney (Rank 40)
- University of Melbourne (Rank 41)
- UNSW (Rank 44)
- University of Queensland (Rank 46)
- Monash University (Rank 55)
- University of WA (Rank 92)
Mr Craven, who has been Vice-Chancellor and President of ACU since 2008, predicts Go8 universities will lower their admission standards to attract more domestic students.
He predicts this will make mid-tier institutions like ACU become ‘zombie universities’ since students will flock to more prestigious campuses.
Australia has 43 universities including 40 Australian universities, two international universities, and one private specialty university.
The slump in international students is worsened by the trade war between Australia and China.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic from its source in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in April.
China responded by slapping tariffs on Australian wine and barley, adding sanctions on beef, wheat, timber, cotton, lamb, coal and lobster.
Indian international students, who make up 15 per cent of all overseas enrolments in Australia, are considering going to Canada instead of Australia because of Covid-19 restrictions keeping them out of Australia.
Research from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute found Australia may lose up to $10billion by the middle of 2021 if the pandemic keeps Australia’s borders closed.
Students lounge around in the quad at ACU. Mr Craven said mid-tier institutions like ACU will become ‘zombie universities’ since students will flock to more prestigious campuses
Australia’s international student population will halve from 600,000 to 300,00 by the middle of 2021 if the international border doesn’t open.
Dr Peter Hurley, the report’s author, said the exodus of international students would continue to hurt cities across Australia.
‘The initial population shock most affected regions where Chinese international students lived, but future declines are likely to involve international students from all countries,’ he said.
‘This means the impact of falling international student enrolments will become more widespread.’
Australia closed its borders to non-permanent residents or citizens on March 20, 2020 to stop coronavirus coming into the country from abroad.
Thousands of international students are considering moving to Canada instead of Australia because of COVID-19 restrictions (pictured: two female students wear graduation caps at the Australian National University in Canberra)