Are Chinese students paying too much to study in Australia?



The cost of studying in Australia is higher than in any other country. Photo source:



“I just worked for five hours, so I am a little tired.” Said Lily, who is an international student studying in the University of Sydney and has been in Sydney for five months.

About three months ago, she fund a part-time job to sell box lunch in the train station, and she could get 10 dollar every hour. “Though the salary is very low, it can reduce the pressure of my life.”

Actually, the salary of this kind of part-time job is below the average, which is about 14.5 dollar per hour. But most of the international students choose to find a part-time to reduce the pressure of their life just like Lily.

“I can use this money to buy an apartment about 100 Square meters with three bedrooms!”

“I am not the second generation of the rich, and I just come from an ordinary family. My tuition fee is AU$40,000 per year and the cost of living every year is about AU$15,000, which exchanged to Chinese Yuan is about 280,000 Yuan.

So, when I finish my two years’ study, I have to cost about 560,000 Yuan. In my hometown, which is a small city in China, I can use this money to buy an apartment about 100 Square meters with three bedrooms!”

According to a recent report, the cost of study in Australia is higher than in any other country such as the US and UK. The total cost for international student study in Australia, including annual fees and the cost of living, is calculated at USD 42,000 a year.


屏幕快照 2016-04-28 上午12.00.58
Chinese students have a large proportion in USYD


Also, Australia has the most proportion of international students—about 20 percent of the country’s higher education enrolments are international, compared to the global average of about 7 percent. Whenever you walk around your campus, there are always people of different nationalities speaking different languages. Among those, Chinese students have a large proportion.

“My parents pay my tuition fee and the cost of living. Actually, they pay the fee by their saving. So I choose to earn some money during my spare time to reduce the pressure of my family.” Lily said with the phone in her hand.

” I often pay attention to the rate and exchange some money”

“I just exchanged my Chinese Yuan to 5ooo Australian Dollar using the app in my phone. The exchange rate of the Australian Dollar to Chinese Yuan is changing in recent months, so I often pay attention to the rate and exchange some money for my study and life when the rate is appropriate to me. Actually, this can help me save some money.”


A screenshot of Lily’s phone when she was exchanging Chinese Yuan to Australian dollar



According to Australian dollar rate, there is a bad news for Chinese students, which means that Chinese students are now likely to get less Australian dollar in exchange for their money currency.

The international student fee t is 140 per cent higher than the domestic fee

The universities in Australia publish both the domestic and International students’ fee on the school website, including the University of Sydney. In the website, take the Master of Commence as an example, which has a large proportion of Chinese students, we can see the study fee for International students is AU$40,000 per year, compared to the domestic student fee which is AU$29,500 per year.

This means that the international student fee in this subject is 140 per cent higher than the domestic fee. Actually, all the subjects have the same phenomenon—international students have to pay more than domestic students.

Simply put, international students are big business for universities and for the economy. Even so, the university increases the international tuition fee every year.

The number of progressed application for the fellowship is limited

The Australia Awards are international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian government, which are available to nationals and citizens from eligible countries, which is Asia, the Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

 The Australia Awards Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are funded by the Australian Government, and aims to support the internationalization of the Australian higher education especially the postgraduate-level study and research.

There are also eligible countries, which are in the round of Americas, Asia, Europe and Middle East. The application for the scholarship and fellowship of 2017 is now open and will be closed on 30 June 2016, and it must be submitted using the Endeavour Online application system.

Though there are different kinds of scholarships and fellowships for international students to apply, the number of progressed application is limited. So it is not a good way for international students especially Chinese students to reduce the pressure of studying in Australia.

 “The universities see us as cash cows!”

About two decades ago, there weren’t too many Chinese students, while in recent years, we can see a marked difference. More and more Chinese students come to Australia to have a higher degree.

Some of them want to have a high quality of education, some want to become the permanent residence in Australia, and others may want to avoid the intense competition. No matter what reasons, more and more Chinese students choose to study in Australia.


Image source:


The average international students pay is around AU$42,000 annually, about 2 times as much as domestic students. International students contributed about AU$15 billion to the Australian every year, which makes the higher education the third biggest export.


For the universities in Australia, it is a good way to raise their revenue. So we will not surprised to here the Chinese students saying “the universities see us as cash cows!”


Congying Li

SID: 450487970

Word Count: 950 words


40% Failure Rate? Chinese business students demand fair go from Uni

Sydney in July has already stepped into winter. It is cold now, even more for a boy’s heart. His name is Angus, a postgraduate student of the business school of the University of Sydney. The results of the examination of buss5000(critical thinking in business) has already been published two weeks ago and nearly 40 percent of students failed in this course. Angus heard that those students wrote a joint letter to the Chinese consulate in Sydney asking for help. They formed a group to argued with school leaders and reportedly has already made some progresses.

Angus, a postgraduate student of Business School of the University of Sydney. Photo:Eva HE

Delayed until now, Angus has just checked his marks online, finding that he failed the examination of buss5000. The ringtone comes from his mobile phone, the message shows on the screen that his already booked airplane tickets must be picked up three hours earlier before the boarding time tomorrow. He is going to back home and prepare for a short internship in China. But now, he feels like his mission in life become void of any meaning. He slides to power off the phone, thinking carefully what he is going  to do next.

Abercrombie Business School (ABS Building) in distance looks exceptionally dazzling, Angus feels unfair that he paid expensive tuition fees which is nearly 4500 AU dollars per course, but now,

Inner decoration of the ABS Building. Photo: Eva HE

he must pay additional 4500 AU dollars for retaking this course. “School needs huge money to build more beautiful buildings, so tutors failed me on purpose”, he thinks to himself subconsciously. Just then, three of his classmates look distressed coming over to him, asking him about the test results. Angus shakes his head slowly: “I failed buss5000…” “So did us.” “So what exactly happened this time? I heard that so many Chinese international students failed this semester. Is  that all about double pass that we must pass both final and weekly test?” said Chris angrily.

The failing rate of buss5000 is nearly 40 percent this semester, some students think there was something wrong with the marks of the exam paper and the school staff discriminated against international students. While the truth is that undergraduate business school students have the similar course just like buss5000 and their failing rates are much higher than 40 percent. For example, accounting course, failed more than 40 percent students last year, why didn’t they make troubles and wrote a joint letter to the Chinese consulate in Sydney asking for help?

“I don’t know.” Angus curled his lip and said: “One of our elder classmates,  the president of the Chinese Union of Students Jiang called me earlier this afternoon, he claims that we cannot deny the fact that in recent years, school have started to enlarge the recruitment and building,  it makes sense that students think failing us could be a good money-making idea. But we should keep calm rather than going to extreme. There may be some problems with the teaching methods of the tutors and some unreasonable elements about curriculum and tests. However, as a international student who passed the buss5000 in this semester, he said that we must take seriously about our English skills.”

There are so many Chinese international students studying in business school and some of them think buss5000 is not a big deal. They can pass the exam without paying efforts. So may be tutors want to correct their perception on this course. Some of the students noticed that lots of students failed buss5000 so they just want to get involved and protect themselves from responsibilities.

The back photo of Jennifer who wants her full-face photo being kept secret.          Photo: Eva HE.

“That is true.” Chris added. “Yesterday I had a coffee with Jennifer, the international relations director of the business society, she claimed that she had seen some feedback comments that Chinese students posted on the official college  website. Their English cannot make them pass the regular test actually. Some of them even look for essay-writing services to pass a certain course. Those students who make troubles are selfish, they made the news bigger and push staffs of the Chinese Consulate to negotiate with school leaders about this issue. They blamed all the faults to school and ruined school’s reputation.”

The photo of essay-writing service taken from the doors of the ladies room in the ABS Building. Photo: Eva HE

Angus turns on his phone, surfing on some social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Sina Weibo to see the public opinions about this issue in and abroad Australia.

There are hot debates in the WeChat Group that students who failed the buss5000 constituted. Some students claimed that the tutors are irresponsible and have prejudice on those Chinese students. But Angus is rational that his tutor, Tasbir, always take particular care of our Chinese students. If you ask her questions, she would answer it with patience. Most Chinese students who blamed tutors never ask tutors questions during consulting time when they get confused about the class, of course. They think there English sucks so they are afraid of asking questions.

Angus rethinks this issue that he may consider himself of hard-working students while his friend YUI have commented that he was not diligent at all. When he studied in fisher library, he always playing his mobile phone to surf the internet, just like most students sitting around him. His learning efficiency should be improved. Beside, the class is not really difficult that he should take every class seriously and do some pre-exam tests that tutors provided before examination. He remembers an article published online recently, which reported the comments of this failing issue said by Professor John Shields, the Vice President of business school of the University of Sydney for some details about this failure rate several days ago. Professor John stated that students should notice that not all of the students who failed buss5000 are Chinese international students, there are also local students who failed the test as well as Chinese international students who got HD in this test. The English skills of those Chinese international students maybe unable to cover all the classes. IELTS test results could not totally rank your English skills. It just like you passing the driving test with full marks while it doesn’t mean that you are good at driving in real life. English should be exercised and improved in daily life.

“But does it mean that there are something wrong with the sources of international students of our university?” Angus looks at Chris.

Australia’s international education sector has undergone a rapid growth over the past decade. As statistic shows, the amounts of the cost of international students peaking at 19.2 billion AU dollars in 2015, an increase of 2.2 billion AU dollars in 2014, which strengthened the dominant position of international education industries in Australia. Australian Federal Ministry of Education claimed that there are nearly 650 thousand Chinese international students studying in Australia in 2015 and China became the world’s largest source for international students at Australian universities.

“It doesn’t really matter at all. We students should learn to accept that results are not always the ones we expected. We should find the reasons of our own.” Angus talks to himself.

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The photos of advertisements of Chinese tutorials taken from the doors of the ladies room in the ABS Building. Photo: Eva HE

What should be mentioned is the fact that Chinese international student representatives put forwarded some advices on the symposium held in 2015 and school leaders accepted the advices with an open mind, which reflected that school leaders had determination to enhance their teaching quality and efficiency. School leaders also stated the  fact that there are so many tutorial classes that Chinese people opened outside school, which was of low efficiency, so there would be additional tutorials opened freely every week in the next semester for students to ask tutors questions within school.


(  Student Name: Eva HE           Student Number: 450427655           Word Count: 1251  )


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USYD Freedom of Association at Stake

by Winmas Yu (SID: 450536382)

The University of Sydney Union (USU) recently requested various student religious societies to amend their membership requirements and to ensure all university students (a.k.a. USU members) would have equal rights and accessibilities in joining a club and being executive members, otherwise they could face “deregistraion”, and, consequently, further funding and campus facilities would not be granted for club events.

University of Sydney quad” by Andrea Schaffer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The request has drawn public and media attention in late-March this year, and was reported extensively by local and national papers, with most of the attention focused on the Evangelical Union (EU) and the Catholic Society.

EU would have to abolish its requirement for prospective members to declare that “Jesus is my Lord”, while the latter was asked to open their executive positions to non-Catholics.

The USU president, Alisha Aitken-Radburn, said to News Corp, “We don’t understand why they need to force their members to say this or sign that.” Continue reading

40% Failure Rate? Chinese business students demand fair go from Uni

Nearly 40 percent of students failed the Buss5000 examination (critical thinking in business course) in the University of Sydney in 2015, which made a stir both in Australia and China. In my opinion, I believe this business subject targets Chinese students on purpose.

More than 300 of the Chinese international students who failed the exam jointly signed to argue with school leaders of the University of Sydney to fight for justice that they claimed the school did so on purpose for the funds to build more buildings. And the education industrialization in Australia was again being raised to the public that some people think the university in Australian are not that good. Allowing international students coming here to study is just the method that they could earn some money.


In order to explore the background of this issue, I intend to google on the internet to find out the background of this issue and search some related reports and articles on some social website to dig out some information as my background reference. I have heard that the rating of the test of buss5000 had changed that students need to “double pass” the exam. So I should ask some students who is learning buss5000 in this semester to figure out what double pass means exactly and how would it affect students’ passing rate. I would log into some social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Sina Weibo to see the public opinions in and abroad Australia and analyze it in a neutral position.

屏幕快照 2016-04-27 21.14.09.pngFurthermore,I would also arrange a time to interview professors of buss5000 to get to know why so many Chinese international students failed in this exam, is that all about the wrong learning methods and poor English skills or just the reason that the school wants to earn some money through these huge make-up examination fees because the New South Wales government provide little fund for school’s research funds. In order to present what really happened, I plan to interview several Chinese international students who failed in this class, asking them to show me their transcript last year to compare their different marks.In addition, finding some data to compare the failure rate of the same course in different universities in Australia as well as the failure rate between Chinese students and local students would be good choices. Finally, I plan to interview several Chinese students who didn’t fail as well as international students who came from other countries, asking them about what their thinkings and opinions of this issue.

To be fair, I would suggest the interviewees hold a neutral position during the interview,  they should tell the truth rather than make up some misleading information with their personal bias and emotions.

Also noteworthy is the name of the target online publication, which would be The Sydney Morning Herald, for it has the section of Education Breaking News & Headlines. Another online publication I prefer to choose is Honi Soit, which is an Australian student newspaper, incorporating a mixture of humorous and serious opinion articles with chatty writing styles. The target audience of this feature article are international students, especially those Chinese international students who concern about their school work and want to be treated fairly in school lives. This feature article would also raise schools’ awareness of advancing the quality of teaching and increasing teachers’ responsibility as well as pushing the government to pay more attention on education issues in Australia.

( Student Name: Eva HE      Student Number: 450427655       Word Count: 563 )

Reference sources links:




The Time to Study in Australia Has Come

By Hu Jiayi in Sydney, Australia

Updated: 2015-06-03

During graduation, more students pay attention to overseas study information in order to further their study or upgrade themselves for better jobs. Here are four favorable factors that tell you why the time is ripe to study in Australia.

In 2014, new visa rules witnessed a 20 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of Chinese high school students’ enrollment in Australia according to a report about Chinese students’ preference for Australian education from ABC news.

The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) made a number of changes to student visas as following: Assessment Level (AL) Framework has been simplified to three assessment levels (AL1 to AL3) through the removal of AL4 and AL5. Student visa applicants who need to supply evidences for their English-language proficiency can submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT), the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test and the long accepted IELTS results. Also, the student visa application charge has reduced from AUD $565 to $535.

“Applications for Australian high school shows an increasing tendency and the amount is more than that of 2013.” Says Jinghua Pan, the education consultant of Guangzhou Overseas Chinese Service Center, which is the first abroad and immigration institution of Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China.

In addition, new visa rules for international high school students show that students can go to study in Australia on student visa as soon as grade seven, which is more convenient for lower grade students compared to the restriction of grade-nine-above before the rules were amended.

“More Chinese students apply for Australian high school since the release of Australian new visa policy. We got 50% growth compared to the data in 2013, and the major applicants are grade eight and grade nine students.” Says Xue Lei, the senior consultant of, which is a study-abroad agency that specialized in providing services for studying in Australia.

Interestingly, this new visa rule paves the way for the “go earlier” strategy that share by most Chinese families. They believe the earlier their children go overseas, the earlier their children can adapt to the country to gain foreign languages capacities and life skills. Also, they may have more opportunities to attend good universities if they finish their high school educations.

Dan Li (right-most) and her classmates in St Luck’s Grammar School

Image: Dan Li: All Rights reserved

Huiying Li, the mother of a Chinese high school student Dan Li, sent her daughter to Australia when the girl was only 15 years old. “The earlier I sent her to study abroad, the earlier she can enter the mainstream of the society. Of course I am really upset to leave her in a totally new country, but I cannot let my personal emotion hinders her way of becoming mature.” Said Huiying Li.

Also, Chinese families are required to deposit ¥300,000 RMB (equivalent to $62079.92 AUD at the exchange rate on 3rd June, 2015) as guarantee to support their children financially in Australia before the visa rules are amended. In recent decades, however, with the rise of Chinese middle class families, the Australian government relaxed the rules to welcome more Chinese students. Hobsons, an organization that provide information and services that help students to select the right education and career options, says “applicants will also see reduced financial requirements and are now only required to show evidence of funds to support 12 months of study, as opposed to the former 18 months.”

Among the factors that attract Chinese students to study in Australia, the most direct one is the depreciation of Australian dollar. It has lost 25 per cent of value against the US dollar in two years. The chart below illustrates the exchange rate of AUD against CNY from 2013 to 2014. The general tendency from January 2013 to December 2014 saw a decline from 6.531294 to 5.099217, which indicates that more Chinese families can afford to support their children to study in Australia with lower cost of tuition fee and living expenditure.

Exchange rate of AUD against CNY from 2013 to 2014

Disappointed by the Chinese spoon-feeding style, which to some extend impairs students’ imagination and the ability to think and investigate independently, the well-arranged school curricula, safe study environment and the inspiring teaching approaches of Australian education are excellent reasons for Chinese students to further their studies.

1 005_副本

Grade 12 students having exam in Qingyuan Overseas Chinese Middle School in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province, China.

Image: Jiayi Hu : All Rights reserved

Spoon-feeding education style is the product derives from the fierce competition within the most populous country in the world. Students have no choice but to learn knowledge under the regulation of compulsory education system so as to pass the college entrance examination at the end of grade 12. Most Chinese people believe that the college diploma is the ticket to better jobs. This method seems effective to acquire knowledge within a short period, however, it leaves little time and space for students to gain insight into what they have learned, so most of them lack the ability to think independently.

“I don’t like to say bad words to my country, but I have to say that the Chinese examination education does have many disadvantages, especially for imposing too much pressures and destroying imagination of students to a certain extend. However, schools in Australia are of a great differences. Australian government carries out the quality-education, which gives students a lot more free time to find and develop their real characteristics. And I find that the study environment is very positive, and teachers are super humorous and very gentle.” Said Dan Li.

Lastly, it is easier for students to enter the Group of Eight than other good universities in other countries because Australian universities need fewer materials in application processes.

“Postgraduate students are the biggest group among the total applicants. I can see that most Australian universities are trying to streamline their application requirements such as reducing application materials and increasing working efficiency so that students can shorten their time to prepare materials and get more opportunities to enter elite universities.” Says Xue Lei.

Related video:

Chinese parents increasingly choosing Australian high school