ACT Govt helps Canberra’s universities attract smartest minds

Released 06/08/2015

The children of international research students studying in Canberra will have their public school fees waived in a move that will help cement Canberra's position as Australia's higher education capital.

As we diversify our economy and create new jobs in Canberra it makes sense to play to our strengths, which is why the ACT Government is committed to giving our universities a competitive edge, including helping them lure the best students - and their families - from around the world.
This fee waiver brings the ACT into line with many other jurisdictions, including NSW, and will save high performing students around $12,000 per year, per dependant, adding to the reasons to study in Canberra. The move will allow institutions like The Australian National University, The University of Canberra and the UNSW Canberra to attract more of the world's leading research students, boosting their reputations around the world and supporting jobs on campus.
Canberra is fast becoming Australia’s knowledge capital, and our tertiary education sector is one of city’s biggest employers. One out of every nine Canberrans either studies at or is employed by our universities, which is the highest interaction anywhere in Australia and this measure will create new jobs and boost economic activity in the sector.
A recent report from Deloitte Access Economics indicated that international and interstate students contribute $879 million a year to Canberra’s economy and create approximately 6,000 full time equivalent jobs. The report also found that on average, each international student contributes approximately $20,000 a year to our economy. As ‘Higher Degree by Research’ students tend to be older than undergraduate students, they are also more likely to have partners and dependants, and therefore their contribution to the economy is even larger.
School fees have acted as a disincentive for this group to choose Canberra as the place to study and further their research careers. Although the number of ‘Higher Degree by Research’ students studying in Canberra is relatively small, they are an important group given the research expertise and specialisation they bring to the Territory and the benefits that flow from this. I am particularly keen to ensure that Canberra receives more than its fair share of the increase in international students proposed under the Federal Government’s Australian International Education 2025 strategy, which, if successful, will more than double the number of international students in Australia over the next 10 years.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO said the decision would make Canberra a more attractive destination for international researchers at a critical time in their careers.

“This is a wonderful decision. It will help ANU attract and retain some of the world’s best young researchers who will live and study in Canberra and contribute to Australia’s research excellence.”

“In the past five years, we have been experiencing a continuing upward trend in the enrolment of Higher-Degree by Research students at the University of Canberra and we are sure this initiative will help us further boost our numbers and attract some of the brightest researchers,” said the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Dr Stephen Parker.

“We recruit the best research students from around the world. There is significant competition in recruiting internationally so this initiative is a critical step in promoting the ACT as a competitive destination and we welcome it” said Professor Michael Frater from UNSW Canberra.
In May, I released our new business development strategy Confident & Business Ready: Building on Our Strengths and committed to promoting Canberra as Australia’s Higher Education and Research Capital. This decision is the first of many concrete steps that we will be taking to make that commitment a reality.
Canberra’s major universities have welcomed the initiative and the quick response by Government under the new economic development strategy.

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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