ANU moves to lower proportion of Chinese in overseas intake

Strategy aimed at reducing reliance on China and increasing international student diversity

October 6, 2016
Australian and Chinese flags

One of Australia’s leading universities is trying to lower its proportion of Chinese international students to reduce its “exposure” to that market and encourage a broader mix.

The Australian National University has been pursuing a “diversification strategy” in its international recruitment since 2015, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, adding that ANU has the largest proportion of Chinese students in its intake among the Group of Eight of research-intensive Australian universities.

The strategy was revealed in documents obtained via a freedom of information request by ANU student newspaper Woroni.

There was a need to "mitigate potential risk exposure in the event of market downturn", deputy vice-chancellor (academic) Marnie Hughes-Warrington was quoted as saying in council meeting minutes from February 2016.

A May 2015 report said: “The university remains exposed to the Chinese international market. 

“Diversification strategies at college and central level are addressing this issue, but will take time to make a meaningful impact.”

In the past five years, ANU's enrolments from Chinese students have grown from 42.1 per cent of the international student intake to 59.1 per cent, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Anne Baly, director, international, for ANU, told the newspaper that overreliance on any one nation for overseas students “in itself is not a great business model, but I think that the driver behind this is about diversity.

“It's not like we're moving away from recruiting students from China. They are overwhelmingly great students to have.”

She added that high levels of concentration of students from any one country makes it “hard to provide them with the international experience”.

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