As society becomes increasingly globalised the international education market grows stronger each year. With its focus on multiculturalism and international relations, Australia is making a name for itself as a world class education provider for international students – in March 2015, 5055 international students were enrolled in Victorian schools such as Haileybury and the John Monash Science School. To provide maximum opportunities while maintaining high educational standards, Australia sets requirements for international students ranging from nation-wide visa regulations to school-specific expectations.
Full-fee-paying international students will be required to attain a 571 School Student visa in order to study in Australia. The visa requirements will vary depending on chosen schools and courses, but you generally must:
- be enrolled in a registered Primary or Secondary school course or exchange program
- have adequate English language ability
- have financial means to support yourself
- have health insurance while in Australia
- have parental permission to study in Australia (if under 18)
- have suitable arrangements for their accommodation, support and general welfare (if under 18)
Before applying for a student visa (571 School Student), students must be enrolled in an Australian school. Victorian government schools will not have formal exams or interviews for enrolment, but many independent and select-entry schools will have entry requirements. For example, interviews over Skype to determine English proficiency and character are not uncommon. In Victoria, if you do not have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 5.0 or higher, you may be required to attend an intensive language program for a minimum of 20 weeks. Other states and territories have similar requirements which should be researched thoroughly before applying.
Schools must also adhere to strict regulatory requirements to maintain their International Student programs and ensure high educational standards. For example, schools are required to maintain an 80% attendance rate for international students. Anything below this will affect student enrolment, which in turn affects the student visa.
Living arrangements must be organised according to state or territory requirements. In Victoria, international students under 13 must live with a relative approved by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Students aged 13 or over have the additional options of living with an approved family friend or Homestay accommodation. Homestay families undergo rigorous selection criteria dependent on specific school requirements and will generally cost between $230 and $300 per week, including meals, facilities, and utilities. School cost will vary from school to school, but the standard tuition fees per year are $10,168 for primary school students, $14,489 for junior secondary (7-10) students, and $15,088 for senior secondary (11-12) students.
Students and their families must thoroughly research international student requirements before deciding if an Australian education is right for them. If all requirements are met, Australian schools can provide international students with countless opportunities and pathways towards personal, academic, and professional success.