There's been an enormous increase in the number of overseas students studying in Australia

Physics Students. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The number of foreign students studying in Australia is soaring, according to short-term visitor arrivals data released by the ABS today.

Another 123,900 students arrived in February in readiness for the new school term, easily surpassing the previous record high of 98,400 in July last year.

As a result of the February increase, the number of short-term student arrivals over the past 12 months swelled to 549,700, another record high.

The chart below shows the huge increases in the past few decades and the level of acceleration.

A boom for Australia’s education sector, and the broader economy.

The value of Australian education exports rose to a record high of $21.8 billion in 2016, up 17% on a year earlier.

However, like the recent acceleration in net overseas migration to Australia, the student boom is also pressuring housing costs in Australia’s capital cities, particularly in the rental sector.

Students are another source of housing demand, albeit a welcome one for the economy overall.

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