Record international student enrolments in 2015

  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

New Zealand’s international education industry grew 13 per cent to 125,011 international student enrolments in 2015, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The International Education Snapshot Report for the 2015 year shows an overall increase of 14,748 international student enrolments and that every region experienced growth.

“This result reflects the great work being done by the education community across New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says.

“New Zealand is increasingly being recognised for the excellent education and study experiences it delivers to both local and international students.”

Tuition fee income received from international education topped $1 billion for the first time in 2015. Fee income reached $1.029 billion, a 17 per cent increase ($146 million) on 2014.  Statistics New Zealand recorded the value of education exports as $3.1 Billion for the year to March 2016.

“The benefits of international education extend well beyond the economic contribution to the economy. Young New Zealanders live and learn alongside people from other countries, increasing their understanding of other cultures and boosting our links with the world. These links are vital for us to prosper in an increasingly Asia-Pacific world.”

Auckland continues to be the largest region for international student enrolments with 63 per cent of enrolments, similar to 2014.  Canterbury has 8.4 per cent of enrolments (an increase in enrolments of 13 per cent to 10,547), and Wellington has 5.9 per cent (an increase of 9 per cent to 7,456) of international student enrolments.

Education providers also welcomed more students in Nelson/Tasman (21 per cent growth), Bay of Plenty (22 per cent), Southland (18 per cent), Waikato (7 per cent), Northland (6 per cent) and Hawke’s Bay (4 per cent).

“It is important that regional New Zealand shares fully in the growth of our international education sector and it’s great to see strong growth in many regions. Education New Zealand will continue to develop their new Regional Partnership Programme to promote the benefits of studying in each region.”

Enrolments at universities were up 4 per cent nationwide, ITPs 23 per cent, PTEs (excluding English language schools) 29 per cent, and schools 2 per cent.

The fastest growing markets for New Zealand education in 2015 were India with a 45 per cent increase in international student enrolments (9,013), China up 13 per cent (3,881), and the Philippines up 83 per cent (1,648).

“While most of this growth has been good for New Zealand, it is important to ensure that all student recruitment in fast-growing markets like India is done within the rules and regulations that New Zealand sets. The new Code of Practice for Pastoral Care of International Students that came into force last Friday makes it clear that all New Zealand tertiary providers are responsible for the activities of their agents.”

Student visa trends for the year to May 2016, also released today, show a 5 per cent decline in first-time student visas so far this year, and a 22 per cent decline in first-time student visas from India.

“The decline in numbers from India reflects the new higher English language rules put in place in October last year and tighter enforcement of the rules by Immigration New Zealand.  Growth in numbers from China, Korea, Japan, Germany, Malaysia and Vietnam has largely offset the drop in numbers from India.”

International education is currently New Zealand’s fifth largest export sector and it supports more than 30,000 jobs for New Zealanders.

Education New Zealand, the lead government agency for the promotion of international education, is working to grow the economic value of the sector to $5 billion dollars by 2025.

The International Education Snapshot: 2015 full year report is available here:

The Student Visa Dashboard to May figures are available here: