I just wrote my third resume in the last two weeks, where international students were ‘downsizing’ to the Vocational Education and Training sector.
In yet another story not covered by Adelaide’s media, private training colleges are paying education agents big money to recruit onshore international students – including many who are enrolled in Adelaide’s public universities – into VET programs.
International students are encouraged to leave university courses that cost up to $30,000 or more in fees, to enrol in vocational certificate and diploma courses, with fees as low as $6000 a year.
International students are required to complete six months of study onshore after enrolment before they can transfer.
Many international students have significant financial pressures with job losses (they can’t get JobSeeker or JobKeeper) and many are isolated from their families and support networks, so downshifting their studies is attractive.
A proportion of those fees is returned to the agent as a commission, typically up to 30 per cent.
The head of one college said he was concerned this was driving down course quality and better regulation was needed to stop agents demanding high commissions, although the real problem is international student flight to the VET sector further drains university coffers.
Nicole Brigg, pro vice-chancellor (international) at Macquarie University estimated about 200 students from countries including India, Nepal and Nigeria had transferred in a year from the university to lower cost courses.