Higher education research

Publication Date



International education, International students, Regional universities, Rural areas, Geographic isolation, Educational marketing, Student experience, University choice, Pathways, Enrolment, Visas, Higher education, Postsecondary education, Statistical analysis, Case studies


This report is the primary output from the Enabling Growth and Innovation (EGI)-funded project ‘International education in regional study destinations: Building the evidence base’ commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) in collaboration with Austrade.


The objectives of this project are to develop the evidence base in ways that enable the development of marketing messages that attract international students into regional areas in Australia. To achieve this objective, the project has identified: the profile of international students in regional areas; the pull factors that attract them to study there; the rate at which students appear to convert from short-term non-award courses into formal qualifications; and factors underpinning success in attracting international students to regional areas. Drawing on significant advancements in the geocoding of enrolment data to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Remoteness Structure and underlying Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+), the analyses of the latest enrolment data contained in this report identifies, with some precision, where and what international students were studying in Australia in 2019. In terms of primary data collection, a series of bespoke questions were included in the national Student Experience Survey (SES). This involved collecting information, for the first time, from more than 40,000 international higher education students about topics relating to their future intentions and off-campus experience of Australia. To provide qualitative stories of student experiences, in-depth focus groups were conducted with 63 students enrolled in five regional campus locations across Australia in 2019.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Place of Publication



Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment