Australia’s education exports reached a record A$20.3 billion (£12 billion) in 2015-16, an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year.
Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that universities and other tertiary education institutions generated A$13.7 billion of that income.
“International education remains Australia’s third largest export – just behind iron ore and coal,” said Universities Australia.
“Experts say the resurgence could accelerate, as Brexit and Donald Trump’s successful campaign stem student flows to Australia’s two biggest competitors [the UK and US],” suggested The Australian.
The newspaper also said that previous research “has demonstrated that international students not only subsidise the teaching of domestic students, but also keep afloat the multi-million-dollar research efforts of major universities”.
In 2010, new enrolments of international students at Australian universities suffered a hit after the government restricted access to student visas. But the government has since changed its approach.
The figure on education exports includes fees and spending on goods and services such as food and accommodation.
Belinda Robinson, Universities Australia chief executive, said: “Not only is international education a core component of Australia’s economy, it contributes profoundly to Australia’s relationships with the world.”
She added: “Through the exchange of students on a grand scale, we’re forging relationships that underpin our future diplomacy, trade, business links, cultural insight, and personal connections.”