Supporting the independent education community

The state of the industry


There’s little doubt that the past 18 months have been the most difficult period for the post-secondary education sector in Australia’s history. In March 2020, as part of the effort to limit the spread of COVID, the federal government closed Australia’s borders to non-citizens, and in the process cut off the stream of international students that colleges in Australia rely upon to survive.


The JobKeeper program last year was a huge lifeline, and along with other assistance helped keep the doors open at many colleges. But since that program ended in March, and with no firm date for reopening as yet on the agenda, enrolments have continued to dwindle, colleges have continued to close, and workers in the sector have lost jobs.


The ELICOS industry body, English Australia, has stated that student numbers dropped by 47 per cent from 2019 to 2020, with student study weeks declining by a similar amount, while the hit to the overall economy was around $2.7 billion. These figures would only have worsened during 2021, with many existing students finishing up and not replaced by enough new students.


English Australia released a report in August which detailed the dismal state of affairs in the ELICOS industry, a situation which would be matched by any other business relying on international students. This report makes for grim reading, and can be found here:


This story was a part of the IEU’s September 2021 newsletter for ELICOS members.

Read the rest of the stories in this edition:


The State of the Industry

Future Trends


COVID Miscellany

Uluru Statement from the Heart