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International student levy for primary schools

30 June 2004

International student levy for primary schools

The international student levy for state primary schools is to rise from $600 to $900 per international student from 1 January 2005, to meet the increased costs of international students on taxpayer-funded school infrastructure and resources, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"The rise in rates for state primary schools is intended to take account of the increased costs to taxpayers resulting from increased enrolments of international students and the costs of closer monitoring," Trevor Mallard said.

"Revenue from this levy will continue to be re-injected back into supporting international education and international education providers. This change also brings the primary school levy into line with the existing levy rate for state secondary schools.

"The international student levy was introduced in 1992 as the means by which school boards reimburse the government for the money it spends on international students. The levy rate has not changed since 1998. Since then there has also been a substantial increase in costs in state schools because of the increased monitoring we are doing to ensure students are well looked after.

Another factor in the decision to raise the levy after all these years, is that I do not consider it fair for schools which have no international students to subsidise the schools that do."

International enrolments in primary schools rose 700 per cent from 480 in 1997 to 3,846 in 2003; international enrolments in state secondary schools rose 119 per cent from 3,853 to 8,447 over the same period.

Taxpayer spending on international students includes capital depreciation and maintenance of buildings, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) support, Education Review Office assessments of programmes for international students, and the costs of recruiting and training additional teachers. Trevor Mallard said the government had changed the way the levy was calculated so the impact on schools is significantly less than otherwise would have been the case.

If the old approach was still used, then the levy rates would be much higher – up to $1650 per international student enrolled in state primary schools.

ENDS


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