A trickle of international students will begin returning to Federation University by the end of the year under a plan to allow 120 international students a week to return to Victorian universities.
Around eight or nine of the 120 slots will be allocated to Fed Uni with priority given to those needing to undertake practical work to continue or complete their degrees such as health and postgraduate research students, and students who have critical skills to contribute to Victoria's COVID response.
Federation University vice chancellor Professor Duncan Bentley said while it was welcome news, it would be a slow and gradual process to return international students to campus.
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"We will always welcome international students to our university and value the diversity and rich cultural experiences they bring to our communities, but I do not anticipate that the sector will snap back to pre-pandemic numbers of international students for some years," he said.
Prof Bentley said the university's international team had been involved in consultation with the state government on Victoria's International Student Arrival Plan, which has been submitted to the Commonwealth for approval.
Students will pay for their flights but universities will pay for the quarantine of the student visa holders who will stay in COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria managed accommodation.
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The 120 international student arrival numbers are in addition to existing travel caps, so do not take away places for Australians returning home.
A later second stage of the plan will see larger-scale international student arrivals from across the sector including those enrolled in TAFE, English-language courses, private education providers and secondary schools.
Prof Bentley said the initial small numbers of students returning made it vital that Federation University continue with its strategic plan, which involves transforming the student experience and taking a digital first approach.
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