From the NSW Independent Commission against Corruption:

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) says that universities in NSW should consider a range of key initiatives including separating the academic compliance and incentive functions of their international student offices to reduce the risk of corruption.

In a paper released (16 April 2015), Learning the hard way: managing corruption risks associated with international students at universities in NSW, the Commission identifies several corruption risks created by universities’ international student businesses, and puts forward 12 key corruption initiatives to help the universities manage them.

The Commission says that academics can feel pressure to forsake their role in enforcing compliance with academic standards for the financial good of the faculty in the competitive environment of the international student market. “But to intertwine compliance and profit rather than separating them, and to reward profit over compliance, can be conducive to questionable and corrupt behaviour,” the paper says.

The Commission notes that the number of fee-paying international students at universities in NSW has increased 13-fold since 1988. With around 17% of university operating revenues coming from international student fees, profits from the international student industry have become central to broader funding of the universities’ activities.

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