Blog Archive

Australia Budget Cuts and Border Restrictions Cause Disappointments Among HEIs and International Students

Australia has recently had a cut in its funding for universities for 2021–2022. According to Josh Frydenberg, the country’s federal treasurer, more than $19 billion were allocated for institutions

Australia has recently had a cut in its funding for universities for 2021–2022. According to Josh Frydenberg, the country’s federal treasurer, more than $19 billion were allocated for institutions. In a recent announcement, the government stopped emergency research funding in October. The budget cuts greatly affected the higher education sector by $2 billion.

International education providers will be most affected since their $53 million allotment is included in the budget cut. In addition to the declining numbers of international student enrollment, it does not help that most universities lack support from the government. Assuming that border controls will likely persist until mid-2022, universities will be wading in deep waters without enough funding to keep them afloat. As early as now, HEI heads are calling on the government to come up with a solid plan to slowly allow the entry of international students, mainly those coming from low-risk countries. 

On a lighter note, pilot flights scheduled for some international students in the latter part of 2021 may be a good starting point. This still fits the proposed budget. “These pilots will provide a useful proof of concept for a larger scale return of international students,” said Catriona Jackson, Universities Australia’s Chief Executive.

However, onshore applications are in the spotlight in Australia’s 2021–2022 Migration Program, which comprises the following streams such as skill, family, special eligibility and child. The program’s cap is at 160,000, which does not look promising for international students. If the focus during this pandemic does not include foreign applicants, the country is not getting the best talents, said Seema Chauhan, a registered migration agent.

Australia’s closed borders give more doubts to international students wanting to return and continue their postgraduate studies. At present, the country’s borders are shut down and only those with exemptions can enter. Foreign students stuck outside Australia cannot enter and proceed with their programs. Those who are locked in Australia struggle to make ends meet due to financial concerns as well as the effects of the budget cuts.

International students hope that the government becomes considerate as they are most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the chair of Australia-India Business Council’s Make in India Chapter, Vish Viswanathan, “Australia needs to look at a different model or identify immediate strategies to attract international students and, importantly, utilize their skills for the benefit of the Australian economy.”

MSM Unify is your one-stop resource platform that connects higher education institutions, agents, and students in Australia and worldwide. Subscribe today to get the latest insights and updates about international education.

Trump-Era Visa Policy May Hurt US Reputation as an International Study Destination

Breaking News: The Biden Administration gives a gleam of hope as international students from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, India, the UK, and European Schengen area are welcome starting August 1

The Biden Administration gives a gleam of hope as international students from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, India, the UK, and European Schengen area are welcome starting August 1. These students may be qualified for an NIE or National Interest Exception if their academic program starts on August 1, 2021 onwards. Returning foreign students having the F-1 and M-1 visas can enter the US without contacting the embassy if it is not earlier than 30 days before their academic program starts.

International students play a major role in the booming economy in the US. In 2018, they contributed $45 billion and comprise 5.5% of the total higher education student population in the country. On top of that, international students are valuable as they have the potential and skills to contribute to innovation and discovery.

However, a move by the Trump Administration may make it difficult for international students to reap what they sowed when the H-1B lottery was halted. This program allows employers in the US to hire foreign workers temporarily in different fields such as medicine and health, education, law, theology, mathematics, architecture, business and more. If this new rule will take effect, USCIS will select the H-1B petitions from highest to lowest salary levels. This means that the most experienced workers will have a greater chance over new graduates.

“The National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) found that an international student may be 54% more likely to get an H-1B petition under the current H-1B lottery system than under the Trump administration’s regulation that would end the H-1B lottery,” according to the NFAP policy brief.

This ruling can have a significant impact on international students. There would be greater preference for employees with relevant experience in the labor market. For this, international students are already greatly disadvantaged. If and when the Biden Administration retains this ruling, the US will most likely be less attractive to foreign students. 

MSM Unify is your one-stop resource platform that connects higher education institutions, agents and students in the US and around the world. Subscribe now to get the latest insights and updates about international education.

Malaysia: An Emerging Star in International Education

Over the years, Malaysia has received a large influx of international students who wished to complete their education from a university in the Southeast Asian country.

Over the years, Malaysia has received a large influx of international students who wished to complete their education from a university in the Southeast Asian country. This increase in interest has been caused by a number of positive factors and has strengthened Malaysia’s bid in international recruitment against prominent destination countries.This article aims to point out the underlying factors that have made Malaysia one of the best emerging options for international students.

Improvement of the Whole Educational System

Competition is what actually instigated  the movement for local Malaysian universities to vie for international students’ attention. As Malaysia gave foreign universities the opportunity to set up their branch campuses in the country, local universities had to step up and improve so as not to be dwarfed by the competition. This meant updating their courses and training their teachers to provide the best education to the students, on par with what students can get from the US, UK, and Australian universities.

These efforts are paying off. They have brought out the best in some of the local universities in Malaysia, which landed them within the top 1000 of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings in 2020. The following universities that achieved a ranking within the top 400 include:

Malaysia - Emerging Star in International Education

Less costly than other foreign destinations

Malaysia - Emerging Star in International Education 1

Tuition and living expenses in Malaysia are considerably lower than in the US, Europe, and Australia. Both travelers and interested students find Malaysia a great destination. Tuition fees in Malaysia are usually half the amount compared to their counterparts in the Western world. 

When it comes to everyday expenses, a student can already live comfortably for a whole year with a budget not exceeding $6,000. With this budget, you can already travel around the country to immerse in the vibrant  Malaysian culture. Having the option to travel to beautiful sites and eat delicious traditional delicacies can make living in a foreign country easier and more comfortable for international students. For these students, learning while having fun can be enough motivation to finish one’s preferred degree.

Communication is never an issue

Malaysia - Emerging Star in International Education 2

International students will not feel left out due to language barriers when studying in Malaysia, as most of the courses are taught in English. If they feel the need to learn a new language, Bahasa Malaysia (or some just call it “Malay”), is considered one of the easiest languages to learn. Having the skill to speak Malay is definitely useful when studying a course that takes more than a year to finish. Students are bound to meet different people along their educational journey and communicating with them will be key in forging relationships.

Active Role of EMGS

One of the best supports that Malaysia has given its market of international students is the development of the Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS). It is deemed a  one-stop shop for international students as it will guide them from the start of their visa application up to the processing of their student pass. EGMS can also help graduates from Malaysian universities with their future careers.

Malaysia has been open to and attracted a multitude of international students for a while now. The country has successfully positioned itself as one of the major contenders in the international education sector, not only in Southeast Asia but across the globe. 

For years, offering a wide range of courses that can compete with those offered by universities in major countries has been the pride of Malaysian education. The quality and cost of education in the country is known to be a worthy investment a student can make. On top of that, it comes with the bonus of discovering beautiful travel destinations; an intimate view of the melting pot of cultures  is a sweet treat for all students and visiting researchers.

MSM Unify is your all-in-one student platform that connects HEIs in Malaysia and other markets to agents and their students across the world. Subscribe to have the latest information and insights into the international education market and policies. 

Online Cheating Charges in Dartmouth Medical School Spark Tension

United States – 17 students in Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine are accused of cheating during remote examinations. One first year student, Sirey Zhang, received an email accusing him of cheating on 3 remote exams. He was on spring break when he learned about the administrators’ accusations.

United States – 17 students in Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine are accused of cheating during remote examinations. One first year student, Sirey Zhang, received an email accusing him of cheating on 3 remote exams. He was on spring break when he learned about the administrators’ accusations.


Canvas, a learning management tool used in online exams, had data which showed Zhang looking up on course materials while the exam was taking place. Based on Geisel School of Medicine’s Student Honor Code, a student must not “give or receive prohibited aid in tests or assignments.” In Zhang’s case, he violated the honor code, which is grounds for expulsion. Although he informed the institution that he did not cheat, he was advised to plead guilty to have lesser repercussions.


“What has happened to me in the last month, despite not cheating, has resulted in one of the most terrifying, isolating experiences of my life,” said Zhang. The freshman medical student had no choice but to agree and face suspension and a misconduct mark. Aside from him, other accused students had less than 48 hours to make a decision or a few minutes to attend online hearings about their cases. Data logs were not completely presented to the students before they decided on what to do.


Geisel School of Medicine strongly upholds academic integrity. “We wouldn’t want people to be able to be eligible for a medical license without really having the appropriate training,” said Duane Compton, Dean of the Medical School. He denied the allegations that the student affairs office told the accused students to show remorse and plead guilty.
The other 7 accused students have had dismissed cases due to Canvas’ automated processes instead of being a deliberate activity by a student. In the institution, Canvas was used for posting and submitting assignments between students and professors. It was not a tool to check cheating and misconduct. According to Cooper Quintin, a senior staff technologist, any student can be easily accused based on the slightest technical evidence. He was also the one who analyzed how Darmouth did the cheating investigation.


Last January, ExamSoft was used to lower down online cheating incidents. This is a separate tool that prevents students from checking study materials during the exam period. But a report revealed that some students used their back up electronic device as a way to look into course materials while taking the test in their original device.
Sean McNamara, senior director of information security in Dartmouth revealed that they developed a method in which cheating can be seen through the activity on Canvas. Data gathered is clear as there is a pattern seen when a person reads and selects pages on the pages.


However, there are accused students who deny cheating and said that automated Canvas activity is misinterpreted as cheating. Those who made an appeal had charges against them dismissed. Regarding data issues, Dartmouth has not yet responded.


Last April 21, many students wore lab coats and protested in front of the Dean’s office. They are afraid of unfair judgement without having the chance to prove their side.


MSM Unify is an AI-enabled student marketplace that connects higher education institutions, students, and agents in the United States and worldwide. Sign up today and get access to various programs and resources pertaining to international education.

What You Need to Know About the GTE

Australia is among the top destination countries for international students to gain premier education that would prepare them for their entry into the job market. Studying in Australia means completing the General Temporary Entrant (GTE).

Australia is among the top destination countries for international students to gain premier education that would prepare them for their entry into the job market. Studying in Australia means completing the General Temporary Entrant (GTE).

The GTE requirement is in place to make sure that the student visa program is accessed as intended and not abused as a means for students to gain permanent residency. In general, it should show that students would leave the country after completing their course requirements or after graduating from an Australian university.

Completing the GTE

The GTE process starts as soon as the student visa application commences while doing the counselling of students. The counselling includes selection of country, courses, and universities. 

In cases when the students are not directly counselled by Australian officials, their documentary requirements, including transcript of records (TOR), IELTS, passport, and marriage documents, will undergo thorough assessment. Officials will also do other background checks through genuine portals. They will also take personal, telephonic and Skype interviews of students to check their English proficiency during the interview.

Students are likewise encouraged to write an SOP (Statement of Purpose), taking into account the following points:

About Self

Students must provide comprehensive information about themselves, including the goals for the study and what they want to achieve after graduation. 

Academic History

It is also critical to mention any information about your previous academic study to let the officials know whether your past accounts are aligned with your documentary requirements. If you have any gap years in study, mention it as well and state the reason for this. Include notable learning experiences whenever necessary. 

Work Experience

If you’ve had any significant working experience, it is worth mentioning as well. This can strengthen your need to get higher education. It can also help justify your gap years, if any. 

Why Australia

You should also provide Australian immigration a plausible reason for choosing to study in Australia. It would help to state what sets Australia apart from other countries. If there is anything notable about what swayed your decision from studying in other countries, state it as well. 

Reason for Choosing University and Course

It would also help your claim if you mention the reasons why you chose a particular university and the course. Mention the reasons why you think the university and course can help you achieve your future goals. 

Career Plans

Most immigration officials will validate your answers based on your career goals. That’s why it would significantly help to state, in detail, your career plans after graduation and how your chosen course can help prepare you for this. 

Accommodation Plans

Make sure that you already have accommodation arrangements prior to applying for your student visa. This will show the officials that you have adequately prepared for your arrival into the country.

Sponsor Details

If you will not be financially able to support your international education, you also need to mention who will act as your main sponsor, including how capable they are of providing for your financial needs.

Personal Ties to Home Country

You should also provide immigration officials information about your personal ties to your home country. You need to prove that you have enough reasons to go back to your home country after study completion. This may include names of your relatives and significant investments that will compel you not to stay in Australia. 

Economic Situation in Home Country

Immigration authorities will also scrutinize your economic situation back home. It is important that you provide substantial evidence to show that you have employment or business activities or job offers with salary and benefits after your graduation. Showing relevant tax records and bank statements can help. 

Visa History

Any history of past travels to and from Australia or other countries will help justify your intentions of going to Australia to gain education. 

The personal statement must be submitted in English. For students not comfortable expressing their thoughts in English, accomplishing the statement in their own language is highly recommended, but it should be translated prior to submission. Students must also attach all relevant documents to the statement. 

MSM Unify is your all-in-one student resource platform bridging the gap between higher education institutions (HEIs), agents, and their students in Australia and around the world. Sign up now to get access to the latest information and insights about international education. 

International Students in AU Get Exemption From Working Hour Cap

Foreign students employed in the hospitality and tourism industry will no longer need to adhere to the 40-hour fortnight cap.

Foreign students employed in the hospitality and tourism industry will no longer need to adhere to the 40-hour fortnight cap. The exemption comes after these two industries are classified under the critical sectors together with agriculture, aged care, childcare, disability care, food processing, and health care.

International students who currently hold a student visa (Subclass 500) can work up to 40 hours a fortnight, covering the entire period of 14 days from Monday. According to the original student visa work restriction 8105, students can only work when the course of study starts and it should not be more than 40 hours per fortnight. This restriction proved to be difficult for foreign students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on a nationwide survey last year, 60% of international students are struggling to make ends meet. This is on top of their academic workloads each semester.

At present, there are approximately 350,000 international students hurting with the 40-hour fortnight cap. According to Alex Hawke, Immigration Minister, “The Government has listened carefully to the states, territories and industry and is introducing these changes to support critical sectors for Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery.” He added that this new move will help both the students and the economy in many ways.

Additionally, Tourism and Transport Forum Chief, Margy Osmond said that increasing working hours for international students, as well as extending their visa expiry dates will help boost the hospitality and tourism sectors.

With the new changes in visa settings, the immigration minister is open to taking advice and feedback from the different sectors in Australia. 

MSM Unify is your all-in resource platform for students, agents, and higher education institutions (HEIs) in Australia and worldwide. Subscribe now to get the latest information about international education.

International Students Favor the Netherlands as a Study Destination, Survey Finds

A recent survey completed by Nuffic revealed that the majority of international students share a preference for studying at higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Netherlands.

A recent survey completed by Nuffic revealed that the majority of international students share a preference for studying at higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Netherlands. 

Around 73.1% of international students who joined the survey responded that they are “very likely” or “likely” to enroll at a Dutch academic institution in the coming academic year.

In a statement released by Nuffic, researchers said, “International students are very interested in coming to study in the Netherlands, despite uncertainties due to the corona crisis.” They added, “They do so primarily because of the quality: Dutch education has an excellent reputation among international students.”

As much as 90% of the respondents claim the quality of education they get in HEIs in the Netherlands. Students cite that diplomas they earn from Dutch universities allow them to become more competitive in the global job market, mainly because a large percentage of programs are taught in English. It also helps that the HEIs have a solid reputation as premier pillars of learning. 

The QS World University Rankings® 2021 included 13 universities in the Netherlands, with Delft University taking the 57th spot. 

During the 2018-2019 academic year, there were 85,955 international students from over 170 countries in the Netherlands. Notably, a higher percentage of international students mostly come from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries. 

The numbers remain true as most respondents in the recent survey revealed that 86.1% of students from the EEA are more willing to enroll in Dutch HEIs than 72.6% from non-EEA students. 

The survey conducted by the Dutch non-profit organization for internationalization in education was participated by 526 international students from March 9 to March 24 this year. 

MSM Unify is an AI-enabled student marketplace connecting higher education institutions and agents in the Netherlands to their students across the globe. Sign up now and get access to thousands of programs and valuable resources to aid your success. 

India COVID-19 Situation Updates

India is badly hit by the new wave of COVID-19 spread, with more than 21 million cases reported as of writing.

India is badly hit by the new wave of COVID-19 spread, with more than 21 million cases reported as of writing. MSM and its management continuously monitor India’s situation and are currently identifying all measures to extend help. 

Shelley Aylesworth-Spink, Vice President, International Education of St. Lawrence College, calls on SLC alumni to reach out to students in India to show support.

MSM joins St. Lawrence College’s Call for Urgent Action to support the ongoing pandemic efforts in India. 

We call on everyone—India needs our immediate help. We understand that many may be willing to help but unsure of how. Please follow the links below for your donations: 

  1. Red Cross Canada: Donate to the India COVID-19 Response Appeal – ICRA MWF Don (redcross.ca)
  2. United Way India: donate-disaster – uw India
  3. Khalsa Aid: KhalsaAid
  4. PM Cares Fund: Foreign Donations – Credit/Debit Cards | PM CARES

Cape Breton University President and Vice Chancellor Hon. David C. Dingwall also expressed his support for MSM’s partner agents in India as they face difficulties due to the ongoing health crisis

Video Source: vimeo.com

MSM has also launched a free teleconsult for all its employees. Starting May 6, 2021, all MSM team members and their immediate families can book for a free online consultation from 11 AM to 12 PM (IST) Monday to Friday. 

MSM and its partners appreciate your help during these trying times.