Foreign students in Australia are afraid of becoming homeless

9. 9. 2020 | News

Students dormitoryForeign students in Australia had financial problems long before the epidemic broke out so their situation has worsened even more. Professor Alan Morris from the University of Technology Sydney organised a survey to analyse this unlucky development.

Over 7 000 foreign students participated in the first part of the survey that mapped their situation before the pandemic. More than one third of them struggled with paying the rent and more than one fifth had to get by without food regularly to be able pay for their accommodation.

More than 200 respondents stated that they have sleep shifts as the bed in their shared accommodation is used by different people in various time slots. One sixth was afraid of becoming homeless.

In July, 800 former participants filled in an additional questionnaire. It showed that this critical situation worsened even more during the epidemic because foreign students lost on average 23% of their income since the outbreak.

“A huge number of respondents—6 out of 10—stated that they lost their job because of quarantine and only 15% of them found a new one. It indicates that the impact of Covid-19 epidemic on jobs and income of international students is much greater than on the rest of the working population,” Morris added.

Students mainly asked their friends and family for help and almost half of then asked their universities. Schools could, for instance, lower the tuition, find emergency accommodation and provide consulting service.

44% of students are, however, still afraid that they won’t be able to pay the tuition. 58% of respondents stated that the stress caused by their financial situation negatively influenced their academic performance. More than one third confided that they might have to leave Australia before finishing studies. According to Professor Morris, the result of his study reveals that the number of foreign students in Australia will be negatively affected.

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