International Student Caps Need To Be Introduced In a Consistent & Transparent Fashion

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA)

Should the Australian Government move forward with its troubled plan to introduce international student caps, the caps should be applied transparently and agnostic to provider type. That’s the advice pgiven to the Australian Government by the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent providers in the skills training, higher education, and international education sectors.

“As a matter of principle, ITECA is opposed to the Australian Government placing caps on international student enrolment numbers of students at tertiary education institutions. That said, if the Australian Government is to move forward with its troubled plan, it’s imperative that there be a sound and transparent rationale for its decision making and that any such decision making is agnostic as to provider type,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

ITECA notes that stakeholders from across the nation’s international education sector are approaching the Australian Government seeking carve-outs from any cap on international students.

“Some institutions want a carve-out because they have an over-reliance on students from the Peoples Republic of China, whereas jurisdictions are arguing that their entire international education sector be exempt. In what context could the Australian Government sensibly carve-out these Institutions from the hundreds of others that have a sensible case to plead,” Mr Williams said.

ITECA’s advice to the Australian Government is that if a cap is to be placed on international students, it is crucial that any such policy tool is designed and implemented in a manner consistent with the following principles:

  • Enrolment caps must be set in a manner that is clear, transparent, and consistent, ensuring that all institutions are subject to the same conditions regardless of whether they are public or private providers; and
  • Enrolment caps for each provider must be finalised at the soonest opportunity to ensure that all students and institutions are afforded sufficient time to plan for the 2025 academic year, with many institutions already undertaking recruitment activity for 2025, transitional arrangements must also be discussed.

“This provider-agnostic approach is fundamental to maintaining fairness across the sector and upholding Australia’s reputation as a global leader in international education,” Mr Williams said.

The Australian Government has been advised by ITECA that independent skills training and higher education providers that support international students are in the midst of a critical planning period for the 2025 academic year, or have already commenced recruitment activity for the 2025 academic year. In this context, this matter must be addressed urgently to ensure certainty for educational institutions and their students.

“Educational institutions require clarity and consistency in policy to effectively plan and make informed decisions about their programs and resource allocations. These decisions cannot be effectively made ‘on the fly’ or just a month or two before the end of the calendar year before the new academic year commences,” Mr Williams said.

/Public Release.