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State government pledges $13.8m to support overseas students

International students contribute to community in countless ways and strengthen global connections, says minister

University of South Australia vice-chancellor David Lloyd has welcomed the state government’s announcement of a $13.8 million support package for international students affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

He said the government initiative was “greatly appreciated” and would augment the university’s $10m hardship fund for domestic and international students struggling with the costs of living and study.

“International education remains a cornerstone of South Australia’s economy, reflecting the diversity of our society and contributing to the vibrancy of our state,” Lloyd said.

“The state government’s support is a clear signal of how important our students are to our city and to our state, and that their welfare is of paramount concern to us all in these difficult times.”

Announcing the package, David Ridgway, state minister for trade and investment, said that international students contributed $1.92 billion annually to the state’s economy.

“Every four international student enrolments creates one new job, but the benefits to the state go way beyond that. They contribute to our community in countless ways as well as strengthening our global connections,” he said.

Ridgway’s comments contrast with those of prime minister Scott Morrison, who has said that international students should “go home” if they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19 measures. Ridgway is a state member of the same political party—the Liberal Party—as Morrison.