Private higher education in Australia has grown significantly in recent years, with a range of private institutions offering courses and programs in a variety of fields. While private higher education has many benefits, it also presents a number of challenges for students, institutions, and the higher education sector as a whole. In this article, we take a look at the data on private higher education in Australia to understand its current state and trends.
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the number of students enrolled in private higher education institutions in Australia has steadily increased over the past decade. In 2020, there were approximately 262,000 students enrolled in private higher education, representing around 15% of all higher education students in the country. This represents a significant increase from 2010, when there were around 170,000 students enrolled in private higher education, or around 10% of the total.
The growth of private higher education in Australia has been driven by a range of factors, including increasing demand for higher education, the changing needs of students, and the growth of online and flexible learning options. Private institutions have also played a significant role in meeting the demand for vocational education and training (VET), with many offering courses and programs in areas such as business, health, and the arts.
Data from the ABS also shows that private higher education institutions in Australia are more likely to offer online and flexible learning options than their public counterparts. In 2020, around 75% of private higher education students were enrolled in online or flexible programs, compared to just under 50% of public higher education students. This reflects the growing demand for flexible learning options, particularly among students who are unable to commit to full-time, on-campus study due to work or other commitments.
Despite the growth of private higher education in Australia, it still faces a number of challenges. One of the key challenges is cost, with private institutions generally more expensive than public universities. Data from the ABS shows that private higher education students are more likely to incur a higher level of debt than their public counterparts, with around 75% of private higher education students taking out a loan in 2020, compared to around 50% of public higher education students.
Another challenge facing private higher education in Australia is regulation. Private institutions are regulated by the federal government through the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). While this helps to ensure that private institutions meet certain standards and requirements, it can also create additional compliance costs and burden for institutions.
Overall, the data on private higher education in Australia suggests that it is a growing and dynamic sector that plays a significant role in meeting the demand for higher education and providing students with a range of options. While private higher education has many benefits, it also faces a number of challenges, including cost and regulation. As the higher education sector continues to evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, private institutions will play an increasingly important role in meeting the diverse needs of students and society.