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University student numbers pass the one million milestone.

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The Hon Brendan O'Connor

Minister for Employment Participation

31 July, 2008

Media Release

University student numbers pass the one million milestone The acting Minister for Education, Brendan O’Connor, has welcomed new figures showing strong growth in university student numbers and enrolments in national priority areas.

The 2007 Higher Education Students Statistics Collection shows that, for the first time in Australia, over one million students are enrolled at higher education institutions.

In 2007 the total number of students reached 1 029 846, an increase of 4.7 per cent on 2006 figures.

This increase is partly due to the introduction of new reporting requirements for private universities, but student numbers at public universities continue to grow, with a 2.1 per cent increase recorded between 2006 and 2007.

The number of overseas higher education students also grew in 2007, with 254 414 enrolled in public universities in that year, an increase of 3.2 per cent on 2006.

More Indigenous students are enrolling in higher education. The number of Indigenous students at public universities increased by 5.4 per cent between 2006 and 2007.

Over the same period public university enrolments increased significantly in courses leading to provisional registration in medicine (up 23.0 per cent) and initial registration in nursing (11.2 per cent) and teaching (3.9 per cent) due to extra Commonwealth supported places.

New enrolments at public universities increased in most broad fields, including health (up 9.9 per cent) and the engineering and related technologies (up 8.7 per cent), a positive change from a mere 1.4 per cent increase between 2005 and 2006, and a decline between 2003 and 2005.

The rise in engineering and related technologies enrolments at public universities reflects an increase of 510 Commonwealth supported places in 2007. An extra 560 places have been offered in 2008.