September 8, 2015 The Australian dollar has hit a six-and-a-half year low, but the decline has produced a welcome incentive for international students electing to study in Australia. The cost of tuition fees, student accommodation, food and travel expenses had traditionally made the decision to study abroad a considerable strain for many students, or for parents financing their offspring’s study. But a devaluation of the Australian dollar against major currencies was a great relief for international students at educational institutions across Australia.
Asif Narejo, an international student studying at a tertiary institution in Canberra, said the change in the Australian dollar reduced significant pressure, allowing him to focus his attention on his studies.
“It does help me a lot, less mental health stress, in terms of financial problems and the worry about my parents providing me money,” he said.
“Plus it does improve my living standards as well, providing me more money here.”
Tuition fees costing less for international students
Despite rises in tertiary tuition costs in Australia, international students are experiencing fee reductions.
For example, the annual cost of studying a Bachelor of engineering at a Canberra university increased from about $30,000 last year to $33,000 in 2015, but the fall in the Australian dollar meant that international students would be paying less this year.
Financial advisor with Morgans Canberra Matthew McNamara said international students were experiencing greater return for their investment, compared to 12 months ago.
“With the decline in the Aussie dollar around 20 per cent â€” international students are effectively getting cheaper deal in tuition fees,” he said.
“It’s not only that, it’s rent, it’s food, retail, hospitality so effectively they are getting more.”
Mr McNamara said it was unlikely the Australian dollar would deviate dramatically in the foreseeable future.
“We believe there is going to be continued pressure on the Aussie dollar in the short term and the long term,” he said.
“There are fundamental drivers which will put continued pressure on the Aussie dollar.
“We see falling commodity prices, low inflation expectations and the risk of rising unemployment.
“Combine this with deteriorating terms of trade with Australia; obviously it doesn’t paint a good picture for the Aussie dollar.”
University of Canberra Vice Chancellor Stephen Parker said it was “probably the best time to study in Australia”.
“Australia has got very strong universities. The reputation of having a degree from an Australian University travels very well,” he said.
“When they go back to their home country, I think it’s a good thing for them to have.”
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