University of Sydney welcomes travel concessions for international students
29 October 2012
The University of Sydney today welcomed the NSW government's decision to enhance the attractiveness of NSW as an education destination and support the international student experience by offering travel concessions to international students.
University of Sydney Acting Vice-Chancellor and Provost Stephen Garton said offering international students discounted travel was an important acknowledgement of their role in NSW's second largest export industry, and would help make them feel more welcome in the state in which they have chosen to study.
"The University of Sydney, in partnership with other NSW universities, has pressed its case for equal treatment for international and domestic students in relation to public transport concessions since 2004," Professor Garton said.
"This is the first time a state government has acted on our concerns and we congratulate the NSW government on helping us to improve the experience of international students who choose to live and study in this great city and state."
The University of Sydney has almost 50,000 students - and around one-fifth of them are international students who come from more than 147 countries.
"At the University of Sydney we seek to ensure our entire community, whether domestic or from overseas, can access an environment that is welcoming, high-quality, equitable and which values their contribution. Feedback from international students has told us that not receiving transport concessions, like domestic students, has affected their perception of their time here and made them feel less at home," Professor Garton said.
"This decision recognises the important contribution international students make, adding a welcome diversity to our institutions and enriching the learning experience of domestic students.
"It also supports a sector facing increasing competition from overseas institutions and under increasing strain from international economic circumstances. Decisions such as the one today are critical in helping Australian universities improve value and quality for international students over the long-term."
Professor Garton said while today's announcement constituted a twelve month pilot program and did not extend concessions to all travel zones it was an important first step in opening the door to further discussions on the issue between universities and the NSW government.
Acting Director of the University of Sydney's International Office, Jay Jayatilaka, said that while international students cover their own living expenses, degree and study costs, today's announcement would ensure they receive "a fair go" while living in a very expensive city like Sydney.
"Sydney prides itself as a key international destination for students," he said.
"We welcome them by their thousands and they make an enormous contribution, but until today NSW was the only state other than Victoria not to offer them transport concessions.
"Travel concessions will help to make living in Sydney a bit easier as well as strengthen the attraction of Sydney and NSW as a first choice destination for international students."
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