Victoria has cemented its status as a multi-billion-dollar export earner in the international education sector as it sets records for enrolments and impact on the state’s economy.

Recent figures show international students from 170 countries accounted for 281,000 enrolments in 2018, up 11.4 per cent, generating $11.8 billion in export revenue and supporting almost 79,000 Victorian jobs.

“Victoria’s international education sector is going from strength to strength, supporting tens of thousands of direct jobs and breaking export records,” Victorian Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula said.

International education has become Victoria’s largest export category with revenue increasing by 89 per cent since 2014, surpassing tourism ($5.4 billion) and wool ($2.1 billion).

The state’s total number of international students was 227,000, with some enrolled in multiple courses.

The top five countries for onshore students came from China (88,401), India (50,463), Malaysia (16,643), Vietnam (12,763) and Sri Lanka (9,541). The most popular fields of study were commerce and management (32 per cent), arts and humanities (21 per cent), IT (10 per cent) and foundation studies (10 per cent).

Victoria is a premium higher education and research destination, with higher education responsible for half of all international student enrolments. Melbourne is Australia’s top student city as ranked by the QS Best Student Cities 2019 report, where it was also ranked third best student city in the world.

That high standing is due to the quality student experience that Victoria offers, enhanced by the Victorian government’s nation-leading investment in student wellbeing services.

The Labor Government recently announced nearly $1 million in International Student Welfare Program grants aimed at supporting 27 projects.

“International students are a valued part of our vibrant multicultural community. They strengthen Victoria’s global networks and enhance the experience of local students and we are proud to offer programs to support them,” Minister Pakula said.

Since 2014, the Victorian government has committed $4 million to 104 projects. The funding assisted in protecting and promoting international student wellbeing in areas including sport, work rights, accommodation, legal services and mental health.

The state government also runs the Study Melbourne Student Centre, a central hub located in Hardware Lane. Students can use the facility to access a broad range of free services, face-to-face case management and professional development programs. The centre has helped more than 6,300 students since September 2018.

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