The visa path less travelled: RUN explains how to grow international enrolments

The Regional Universities Network calls on government to create incentives for international students to study at its members’ country campuses. In its response to Education Minister Dan Tehan’s request for advice RUN proposals include:

* visa processing priority for internationals enrolling at regional unis

* “advantageous” post-study work rights

* tax deductions for tuition fees

* “advantageous” permanent residency points by increasing the existing five to ten-15

* scholarships

* transport concessions, assistance with housing/medical costs

* “settling-in” assistance

* free schooling for international students’ children

RUN also calls for a comms strategy that explains the overall strengths of studying and living in regional Australia. “Regional universities provide a rich lived experience for international students, with opportunities for close connections with Australian people and communities, as well as high quality education. Government can do more to promote this message.”

The network also calls for region-specific campaigns. “Funding could be provided to regional universities for participation in offshore campaigns, for visits by influencers from targeted markets and to build community, government and institutional connections.”

RUN shares the Innovative Research Universities’ concern (CMM yesterday) that regions need to be promoted as the equal of an urban education. “It is important to promote the message that the educational experience at regional campuses is as good academically as in city universities with the added benefits of the rich lived experience in regional destinations. The word ‘destination’ rather than ‘regional’ should be used.”  However, the RUN emphasis on incentives does not address the IRU warning; “any sense of encouragement to areas that are implied to be less attractive or interesting but needing a boost will not be effective.”


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