Archive for December 8th, 2008

Do international students take uni places from Australians?

In a Weekend Australian opinion piece attacking the government’s ending of undergraduate full-fee places at public universities, Glenda Korporaal says that

Far from creating a warm, multicultural glow, the over-reliance on foreign students has led to an undercurrent of resentment among many young Australians, who feel these students are depriving them and their mates of places at good universities (italics added)

In a reform of the last Howard Budget, universities no longer have absolute limits on the numbers of local students they can enrol. However, government policy still provides strong financial disincentives to take domestic undergraduates.

Up to 5% more than their quota number of student places, universities receive roughly the same as they would for within-quota students (ie the government subsidy plus the student contribution amount). Over that, they get the student contribution amount only. In most cases, international student fees will be significantly higher than either amount – twice as much or more than for within-quota students in some courses in the ‘good’ universities.

So now the key problem is less quantity constraints than price control. Australian students are not allowed to compete on price with international students. They are priced out of the market – not through prices being set too high, as the left supposes, but through prices being set too low.
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