The series of attacks on Indians will take a toll on Australia's education revenue with the latest data on applications by overseas students suggesting negative impact on vocational colleges in the last three months.
The new data released by the government on Tuesday suggested a sharp fall in number of overseas candidates seeking admission in various vocational courses down under as the country's reputation as an education hub was damaged due to recent cases of assaults on Indian students.
However, the immigration department received 28,403 student visa applications for higher education between October and December 2009, up 2 per cent from last year during the like period, despite a sharp drop in applications from India.
While there was a 15 per cent drop in visa applications all over the educations sector, student visa applications for vocational education plummeted to 19,530, a drop of 38 percent, The Age reported.
Education is Australia's fourth most valuable export, worth more than $17 billion last year.
Education Minister Julia Gillard cited the figures in Parliament on Tuesday marking a year since the government received the landmark Bradley Review of higher education.
"Despite recent troubles impacting on our international education sector, indicative data suggests that growth in international enrolments at university is holding up," she said. "The overall decline in student visa applications is expected to impact mostly on the VET (vocational education and training) sector".
Gillard said her government was investing $36 billion in university teaching and learning and more than $9.6 billion in research over its first four financial years, compared to the $27.9 billion spent on teaching and learning and the $5.8 billion spent on research in the last four years of the Howard government.
She said universities would offer 7.5 per cent more Commonwealth-supported places this year in response to the government's goal to expand participation in higher education.