Student satisfaction edges up in Australia

May 09, 2013

Satisfaction levels for living and study among overseas students in Australia are rising, according to the recently released International Student Survey 2012, with agent usage also prominent in the results.

The University of Newcastle, New South Wales

The survey, commissioned by Australian Education International and conducted in collaboration with peak education bodies and regional education departments, found that 87 per cent of students were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their overall experience in Australia, up from 86 per cent in the previous survey conducted in 2010.

In terms of study experience, 86 per cent were “satisfied” or “very satisfied”, up two per cent, while 88 per cent gave the same response in relation to living in Australia, also a two per cent rise.

The Elicos (English language) sector performed strongly in the 2012 survey, recording a six per cent increase in overall satisfaction, a five per cent jump for study satisfaction and a rise of three per cent for satisfaction with living compared with 2010. Elicos also achieved the highest response rate, with 8,772 student visa students from 49 institutions participating, an estimated response rate of 66 per cent of eligible participants.

While overall satisfaction levels with living in Australia were high, there were some declines in terms of living cost and accommodation cost, which both had satisfaction levels of 51 per cent, falls of 10 per cent and nine per cent respectively. The drops may be related to the strong Australian dollar, although the positive benefits of this were reflected in increased satisfaction with earning – up by 14 per cent to 66 per cent among Elicos respondents.

Agents were a key element in the selection of where to study, according to the survey: Forty-four per cent of higher education students said agents were a major influence; two-thirds of VET (vocational) respondents said agents helped in the choice of institution; 52 per cent of Elicos respondents said agents played a pivotal role; and around half of secondary sector respondents said the final school choice was influenced by agents.

The 37,115 higher education respondents were asked to rate factors in the choice of where to study in Australia, and the five most commonly cited reasons were: quality of teaching (96 per cent rated as “important” or “very important”); reputation of qualification from the institution (94); reputation of the institution (93); reputation of the Australian education system (92); and personal safety (92).

For Elicos students, the top four factors for choosing Australia were: English speaking country (39 per cent), opportunities for further study (35), safety (27) and opportunities for work (27).

The 2012 study was the second International Student Survey in Australia and uses the International Student Barometer in order to make comparisons with international benchmarks and inform future policy making. Around 55,000 students across all sectors participated in the survey.

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