Melbourne, May 7: The Andrews Government is supporting the welfare of 175,000 international students with funding for four new projects through the $4 million International Student Welfare Grants program.

Together, the projects will receive $129,000 and will focus on enhancing the welfare and support available to international students in Victoria.

 “We’re making sure the 175,000 international students who live in Victoria have access to the support services they need to improve their study and living experience,” Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert said.

The approved projects include:

  • Support for international students studying VET qualification at TAFEs or private providers to attend the two-day Melbourne International Student Conference 2016 delivered by MELD student magazine
  • A welfare support and skills development project for Latin American students, delivered by Community Hubs in Australia and the Refuge of Hope with the Council of International Students Australia
  • A project in Bendigo to better connect international students with the local community, delivered by the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Service in Partnership with La Trobe University International Students Club
  • A new wellbeing initiative for international students, delivered by the Centre of Culture Ethnicity and Health in partnership with international student associations

The International Student Welfare Grants program provides funding of up to $50,000 per year to organisations to deliver projects that support the welfare and improve the experience of international students in Victoria.

The grants are a key component to the Labor Government’s recently announced International Education Sector Strategy – as the government works with student groups and universities to develop projects to enhance the safety and wellbeing of international students.

International education is Victoria’s largest export sector, generated $5.6 billion for the state’s economy in 2015 and also supports 30,000 jobs, according to the Victorian government.

The international student sector has grown by $2bn compared to the same time last year, when it was valued at $17.6bn, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Phil Honeywood, executive director of the International Education Association of Australia, said while international students provided a tremendous boost to the economy, education providers should not become complacent.

Phil Honeywood of IEAA at APAIE seminar
Phil Honeywood of IEAA at APAIE seminar

He compared the local market to Canada, US and NZ and said that Australia lagged behind in employability, safe and affordable accommodation and acceptance in classroom diversity.

The Government delivers services for international students through the Study Melbourne Student Centre, complementing services available from education providers.

Student associations are invited to submit new projects to the ISWG for consideration at any time.
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feature image: @UMSU2015 melbourne uni student union

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