Learning and earning: Gold Coast aims to lure international students

The Gold Coast will throw $500 per student at international university hopefuls to help get them back to the city to study and rebuild Queensland’s ailing international education sector.

Mar 03, 2022, updated Mar 04, 2022

Industry group Study Gold Coast has launched a new global campaign, It’s Your Moment, to attract students from key markets of Brazil, India, Japan, China, Colombia, and Vietnam.

The $500 per student travel grant comes as the sector aims to rebuild after two years of stringent Covid restrictions prohibiting most international arrivals, only to be hit by devastating floods and wild weather that have marred the semester start at universities.

Prior to the pandemic, international education was worth $1.9 billion to the Gold Coast economy and the city was the number one regional study destination in Australia.

The city is a major driver in Queensland’s international education sector, worth an estimated $5.8 billion before it was devastated by the pandemic and students were shut out of the country.

Universities Australia said by the start of the academic year, around 80,000 international students had returned after up to two years away.

But Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said more than 130,000 international students still held visas and were yet to return to Australia even though borders had opened.

Before Covid, there were about 400,000 international students studying in Australia.

Since March 2020, those figures had dropped to less than 300,000 and the value of the national sector fell from $40.3 billion in 2019 to $22.5 billion in 2021.

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“The sector, of course, faces a significant road to recovery and the full picture for 2022 and beyond will take time to form,” Jackson said.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said he was excited by the prospect of international students returning to the Gold Coast.

“We provide a world class offering of education and lifestyle and, now that the borders are open, I believe the Gold Coast will be a more desirable destination than ever before,” Tate said.

“I’m really excited about the future of education on the Gold Coast. Our city has so much potential, and as we continue to rebuild and grow, we’ll see more and more opportunities created that will ensure our success.”


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