By Geoff Maslen. Australia's universities are so dependent on fees from international students, they would be forced to close some departments without the income the more than 320,000 foreigners provide each year.
Of this total, a quarter are studying at offshore campuses and 29 per cent are from China.
According to the most recent figures from the federal Education Department, the nation's 39 public universities had total revenues of nearly $24 billion in 2011. Foreign students contributed more than $4 billion in fees and charges to that sum but, because their enrolments fell by about 8000 last year from a peak of 332,600 in 2011, the fee income for 2012 was probably down by more than $100 million - still only a tiny slice out of $4 billion. Read more...