Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 4, No. 2 (2007)

What attracts Mainland Chinese students to Australian higher education

Moli Jasmine Yang, Central Queensland University


This paper analyses the factors that influence Mainland Chinese students’ choice of Australia as their study destination. China is the main source of international students and is one of Australia’s leading export markets for education services but the study of international students is not in the mainstream of any discipline (Altbach, 1989). Two stages of studies were employed to this research. Stage one, a quantitative study using A MaxDiff (Maximum Difference) Scaling. A sample of 65 potential students was selected in China who were considering studying overseas. The respondents were asked to specify their “best” and “worst” choices from sets of four statements. This stage identified what factors influenced students’ choice of study abroad. Stage two, comprised a further investigation on why students choose Australia, 30 students were interviewed who are currently studying in Australia. The findings found that Australia has become popular with Chinese students, and is preferred to both the United States and United Kingdom. The most important factors motivating Chinese students to study in Australia are future migration opportunities after graduation, Australia’s high quality of education, and competitive lower tuition fees and cost of living. By understanding the underlying factors attracting Chinese students to Australia, education providers can focus on their recruitment activities and enhance their marketing strategies. Introduction

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