Global Position and Position-taking in Higher Education: The Case of Australia

  • Simon MarginsonEmail author
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 36)


Between 1990 and 2007 Australia ’s share of the global market in cross-border degrees grew from 1 to 7% (OECD 2009). Full fee-paying foreign students constitute one-fifth of on-shore enrolments and education has become Australia ’s third largest export. Positioned as an Anglo-American system on the edge of Asia, Australia has differentiated itself from education in the USA and UK on the basis of price, location, safety and climate, rather than academic content. The supply-side drivers of growth have been a prolonged reduction in the public funding of universities—Australia is the only OECD nation that both markedly increased private funding and markedly reduced public funding between 1995 and 2002—which installed economic dependence on foreign students and positioned university leaders as drivers of the business model and export growth; and entrepreneurship, marketing and non-academic servicing of students in the context of price and volume deregulation of foreign places. But the global position of Australian higher education is less strong in research and doctoral education than in the global market in cross-border degrees. Australia ’s policy-driven global positioning may have negative implications for the longer-term global standing of its knowledge economy and limit the position-taking strategies available to its research universities.


International Student Foreign Student International Education Doctoral Education Australian High Education 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Higher EducationUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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