Number of international students in New Zealand falls

The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand last year fell last year, new figures show.

The latest data shows that there were 117,248 foreign students enrolled in New Zealand last year – a 6 per cent decrease compared to the previous year.

However, despite a drop in overall enrolments, the number of international students studying in NZ universities went up to 31,529 – up by 7 per cent compared to 2017,

The tuition revenue from international education increased to NZ$1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960.

International students came from 177 different countries or territories to study in New Zealand in 2018, with an increase in the number of international students coming from 27 countries. This includes an increase in students coming from France, Thailand, Nepal, the UK and Viet Nam.

“This is the first time in the last six years that the university sector has become the largest sector for international students, overtaking Private Training Establishments (PTEs),” said Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

“Good progress has been made to remove low-quality providers, and eliminating non-genuine students entering through the student visa, solely in pursuit of residence. International student numbers in the PTE sector have dropped, and sixteen PTEs have involuntarily closed since 2016.

“There are, however, still more than 400 quality PTEs that continue to provide highly responsive and innovative programmes for students. “

The latest perceptions survey has found that 58 per cent of New Zealanders believe that international education contributes positively to New Zealand as a country, and 51 per cent perceive it to be contributing positively at regional level.

“It’s encouraging that the Canterbury region experienced the largest increase of international students – up by 4 per cent from the previous year,” said Hipkins.

“Other regions have also experienced growth including Taranaki and Manawatu-Whanganui.

“The regional distribution of international students is now at its highest level for the past five years, and the reform of vocational education and training that’s underway will likely see more international students choose to study in regional New Zealand,” the Minister added.

Article published 9th December 2019