Australian survey reveals accommodation satisfaction

July 11, 2013

Eighty-four per cent of international higher education students in Australia were satisfied with the quality of accommodation in 2012, although only 51 per cent were satisfied with the cost, according to a report released by Australian Education International (AEI).

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The report, International higher education student satisfaction with accommodation in Australia, is the expanded findings of accommodation-based research from the previously released International Student Survey 2012.

The survey, completed by 37,115 international students from 36 of Australia’s universities, found that 20.3 per cent resided with family or friends, 11 per cent in on-campus accommodation, and 3.7 per cent lived with a host family, with the majority – 65 per cent – living in “other” off-campus accommodation.

Overall, 19 per cent of students were very satisfied with their accommodation, and 65.4 per cent were satisfied, while 13 per cent were dissatisfied and 2.6 per cent were very dissatisfied. In terms of nationality breakdown, students from Singapore had the highest satisfaction rates at 89.3 per cent, while Korean students were the least content, with 17.5 per cent dissatisfied.

In terms of access to accommodation, 85.2 per cent were satisfied, a significant improvement on AEI’s previous accommodation survey in 2006, when only 64 per cent were content. Meanwhile, only 22.6 per cent of students had used the services of their university accommodation office.

Costs proved to be the least satisfactory element of the living experience, with only 51.1 per cent satisfied. Internet access was flagged as another potential area for improvement, with only 76.7 per cent satisfied, compared to the global International Student Barometer 2011 benchmark of 82 per cent. However, safety proved to be the most satisfying factor, with 93.8 per cent of respondents rating their place to stay as safe.

In the conclusion of the report, AEI said, “The cost of accommodation remains the most pressing issue, as it does for other countries; however, the Australian government, state and territory governments and providers continue to make efforts to address the cost of accommodation.”

South Australia scored well in the survey, achieving the highest rates of satisfaction for access to accommodation (88.8 per cent) and cost (62.2).

AEI also highlighted the importance of accommodation to the overall student experience. “Research has found that academic performance is positively correlated with satisfaction with accommodation, so providing suitable accommodation can improve the academic experience of international students as well as supporting their living experience in Australia.”

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