Dirk Mulder on pandemic pricing for off-shore enrolments


Universities normally don’t like to discount course fees – but nothing is normal now

The international education community struggled all last year with the question of whether universities should, let alone, could, charge international students studying off-shore the rate for an on-campus degree.

But for some universities, the question now seems settled with several introducing big scholarship schemes, apparently to help build on-line commencements while the borders stay shut.

Murdoch University has announced a 40 per cent fee reduction, via its Online International Welcome Scholarship – for those who study on-line, off-shore. Once the borders open and students are on campus the scholarship will convert to an on-campus offer, which may also include subsidies for on-site living expenses.

Griffith University also has a scholarship suite. The most lucrative being a 50 per cent fee reduction, however it is conditional on a GPA requirement.

Macquarie University presents a more tailored approach to scholarships via a searchable database using criteria of country of residence, area of study and level of study. From what CMM can ascertain, it appears there are a series of blanket scholarships depending on where in the world the student is from. The most lucrative offer is the “South Asia Scholarship” valued at A$10k per year.

Universities, as a learned reader points out, have form on discounting. While universities want to stick to their guns on headline pricing, several that do, offer degrees via on-line partners such as Open Universities Australia for a much lower fee.

Whether the new COVID-19 price cuts prove popular and are picked up by other institutions will depend on how long universities expect Australia’s borders stay closed. And how long they are prepared to hold their nerve on pre-pandemic pricing.

Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent