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New research has revealed Australia has become the top study destination in the world, on par with Canada, all while the country grapples with a growing rental crisis.

The Emerging Futures 4 survey, conducted by global education specialists IDP Education two months ago, showed Australia’s ranking had increased two per cent in just five months since the last survey.

But more than a third of current international students surveyed (35 per cent) said their rental accommodation close to campus cost more than they had budgeted for.

Another third of respondents said they had rented far away from campus because it was more affordable.

Simon Emmett, chief executive at IDP Connect, said changes in perceptions and factors that students consider in their decision making show the top-four destinations should not rely on previous positive sentiment and high rankings.

“Policy changes, dynamic shifts within institutions and global economic conditions all have the power to affect a destination’s standings,” Mr Emmett said.

The figures come amid a ballooning rental crisis being faced across major Australian cities.

Last month, a Senate inquiry into the cost of living was told average rents in Perth had soared by 17 per cent since May 2022.

Average mortgages had increased by 50 per cent.

About a quarter of the 10,000 international students surveyed chose Australia as the first-choice destination for study.

The United Kingdom trailed both Australia and Canada with 22 per cent, and the US on just 19 per cent.

Students from Nepal, Vietnam and Indonesia were among the highest demographics rating Australia as their first choice for study.

Students’ perception of graduate employment options and post-study work policies were key factors for Australia’s rise in the ranks.

“Students continue to choose Australia for its high-quality of education and because it is a safe country for international students, with these factors seeing a 3.6 and 3 per cent increase respectively,” the report states.

The findings follow a recent Grattan Institute report finding only half of overseas students living in Australia managed to find work after graduating.

There were about 654,870 student visa holders in Australia in July this year – forecast to reach up to 750,000 by the end of the year.

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By Rahul

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