More students from around the world than ever before are choosing to study in Australia with numbers up 10% in 2015 compared to the previous year.

The latest official figures show that almost half a million international students from nearly two hundred countries attended higher education courses last year.

Richard Colbeck, Minister for International Education said that it demonstrates Australia's strong global competitiveness in education and strong ranking in the global student community.

books-school-university

More Chinese students in particular are choosing to study in Australia with a rise of 13.3% in 2015 to 136,097 students. The figure shows that China contributed 27.3% of all international students in Australia, the highest of any nationality, while India was second with 10.8%.

Other nationalities with high numbers of students include Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia and Hong Kong, together contributing 66.2% of total international student numbers.

"These figures prove that international education is one of the five super growth sectors, it's one of our top services exports and it's supporting our economy. International education delivered nearly $20 billion to the Australian economy in 2015, confirming the importance of the sector to Australia's growing knowledge economy," said Colbeck.

"Australia offers high quality education services, teaching, learning and research, and we have world leading tuition protection arrangements, which is why 498,155 international students chose to enrol across all Australian education sectors in 2015," he added.

Colbeck pointed out that Government reforms have cut regulatory costs for institutions by $48.2 million a year, allowing Australian universities, vocational education and training providers, English language providers and schools to focus on their core business of providing high quality education to students.

"The Government is continually working to improve the competitiveness of the sector by streamlining the administrative burden for education institutions while maintaining strong protections for students," Colbeck explained.

"I look forward to releasing Australia's first national strategy for international education later this year to facilitate further growth. The strategy will set a 10 year vision to strengthen collaboration between all stakeholders in the sector," he added.