When it comes to international education and promoting Australia as one of the best destinations for students in the world, Coldplay have probably summed up the task ahead as well as anyone – Nobody said it was easy. The Australian Federal Government certainly seems to agree with singer Chris Martin’s sentiment and, recognizing the hard work ahead, has established a Coordinating Council for International Education, which will be responsible for finalising Australia’s first ever National Strategy for International Education.

Explaining just a few of the challenges ahead CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, quoted in Steven Matchett’s Campus Morning Mail,warn that continued growth in Asian demand does not assure export expansion:

“Australia may be geographically blessed by its proximity to the eastwards shift in economic gravity and associated growth in student numbers, (but) it is not the only player on the field. And, with advancements in transport, communications and digital technologies, the playing field will continue to get bigger. As this shift in demand occurs, the presumption that English will remain the preferred language of instruction cannot be taken for granted.”

Education Minister Mr Christopher Pyne says he hopes the National Strategy will place international education at the heart of Australia’s national economic prosperity:

“This is a vision that requires a coordinated and consistent approach across all levels of government. It is essential that the strategy is developed in partnership with education providers, industry and the wider community.

“The work the Council does to finalise a national strategy for international education will deliver enormous benefits to the Australian community.

“It will help secure our third largest export that has so many spinoff benefits for our local communities. It will build on our relationships with other nations by educating students in and about Australia and make them lifelong advocates for our country.”

As well as emphasising the importance of international education in Australia for the economy in general, he also makes the point that, remarkably, more than 130,000 jobs around Australia depend on the industry.

The government body Austrade says is seeking to work collaboratively with Australia’s international education sector, “including non-traditional players”, to develop Australian International Education (AIE) 2025, a long-term market development strategy for the next decade. We at HECG hope to be one of those “non-traditional players” making a submission to the strategy.

AIE 2025 goals include maximising the sector’s contribution to Australia’s economy, society and international standing and as such it seeks to explore what it sees as two ambitious challenges for the sector over the next 10 years:

  • Can Australia move towards doubling the number of international students and visitors learning and training in Australia?
  • Can Australia increase the number of people overseas who are learning and training via Australian-developed courses or content?


In the meantime HECG would like to remind the sector that there is much that can be done in the here and now to improve performance in overseas student recruitment and retention.

It is HECG’s view – drawn from our experience in international recruitment – that if our institutions are to remain at the front of the pack in this increasingly competitive environment they must urgently reconsider the structure of their recruitment programs.

These must now cater to all stages of the student degree lifecycle.

As we point out in our International Student Recruitment White PaperHow digital marketing + empathy wins over international students – marketing campaigns that drive enquiry through to application alone – the typical Australian model – have passed their use-by date.

To sustain and boost acceptance rates, institutions now urgently need to increase investment in the post-offer period of their recruitment programs. In other words, they should nurture and care for their prospective students from offer to acceptance to the day the student attends his or her first lecture – and, of course, beyond.

The good news for Australian universities is that the dynamism of digital has made post-offer marketing more effective than ever. Advances in technology and applications means the Internet, if used wisely, is your best friend.

To stay on the front foot post-offer HECG recommend three marketing “Musts”. These are:

  • Act rather than wait during the post-offer phase of the purchasing cycle
  • Position the offer as the peak of your campaign, rather than its conclusion
  • Employ off-campus incentives over financial concession to promote acceptance.


To find out more you can read our White Paper in full here.

For immediate help for universities in developing and devising your international student recruitment strategies, our proven experts in this area can be contacted here or by phoning us on +61 403 302 710 or emailing us at admin@he-cg.com, or simply visit our website at https://www.he-cg.com/ for further information.

– DM