That's the sum of money Australia counts as income (pdf) from India by "exporting" its higher education (i.e., by "importing" students from India). Income from India is second only to that from China at Aus $ 3.1 billion. Here are the top five:
Australia earned some 14 billion Australian dollars last year through its higher ed 'exports'. But look at the growth rate from last year: 23 percent! Over ten years, it has been growing at a rate of 16 percent annually, which implies it has more than quadrupled from its 1998 value. Here's a short excerpt from the same document:
International education activity contributed $14.2 billion in export income to the Australian economy in 2007-081, up 23.4 per cent from the previous financial year. Over the 10 years to 2007-08, education exports have grown at an average annual rate of 16 per cent, compared with an average annual rate of 7 per cent across all services exports.
Also, the Australian Education International claims that there are over 370,000 international students studying in that country. By any yardstick, this is a stupendous figure; the US, a country whose population is over 14 times larger, hosts perhaps 50-60 percent more students than does Australia.
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Thanks to Kris Olds of the Global HigherEd blog.