Profile & Trends 2010: New Zealand's Tertiary Education Sector

Publication Details

This is edition 13 in an annual series on the tertiary education sector. The key findings for 2010 were:

  • 466,000 students were enrolled in formal study programmes in 2010, including 45,600 international students.
  • More young tertiary students now continue with postgraduate study after completing a bachelors degree and four out of every five young tertiary students study level 4 qualifications and above.
  • International tertiary student numbers increased by more than 5 percent in 2010. International student numbers are likely to rise further in 2011.

Author(s): Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis, Ministry of Education

Date Published: February 2012

You can download individual chapters of the report at the bottom of this page.

Key Findings

A new tertiary education strategy and qualifications framework

In 2010, tertiary education organisations began work on implementing the goals and priorities of New Zealand’s third tertiary education strategy, released in December 2009. The higher-level goals and the seven priorities of the Tertiary Education Strategy 2010-15 are described in chapter 2 of this report.

The New Zealand Qualifications Framework, Te Taura Here Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa, was launched on 1 July 2010. The new framework replaces the National Qualifications Framework and the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications (KiwiQuals). The introduction of a single framework for all New Zealand’s quality-assured qualifications was one of a number of changes resulting from the Targeted Review of Qualifications conducted by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. Quality assurance in tertiary education in New Zealand is described in chapter 2 of this report and the New Zealand Qualifications Framework is described in chapter 3.

The tertiary education quality assurance framework is supported by the Tertiary Education Commission’s monitoring of government-funded tertiary education providers. This monitoring was expanded in 2010 to include measures of performance against a set of common educational performance indicators. The performance of the tertiary education sub-sectors and industry training organisations is covered in chapter 17 of this report.

Tertiary education students continued to take on higher study loads in 2010, a trend which began in 2008. This shows potential for higher qualification completion rates in the future in line with the government’s priority for tertiary education of having more young people achieve level 4 and higher qualifications. The participation rate of young Māori and Pasifika in level 4 and higher qualifications continued to increase from 2009 to 2010, suggesting that their engagement in tertiary education at higher qualification levels continues to strengthen.
While domestic students took on higher study loads in 2010, the number of students fell slightly from 2009. However, the number of tertiary education enrolments  remained stable overall in 2010 as enrolments by international students continued to increase.

Information on the outcomes of tertiary education includes the income premiums earned by people with higher-level qualifications compared with those with no or a low-level qualification. While these earnings premiums continued to decrease in 2010, at a time when there were relatively high unemployment rates and low economic growth, people with a bachelors or higher qualification had a significant earnings advantage of 63 percent over those with no qualification.
In 2010, the number of students in formal provider-based tertiary study  totalled 466,000, compared to 468,000 in 2009 and a high of 501,000 in 2005. The number of industry trainees decreased from 2009 to 2010 to 195,000, due mainly to the removal of inactive trainees from funding following an operational policy review of industry training.

Statistics and research

Profile & Trends has an associated set of statistical tables available on the Education Counts website – The statistics in the web tables are used to inform the analysis in Profile & Trends. The tables provide comprehensive coverage of the key trends in the sector’s performance: resourcing, financials, human resources, research, student support, Youth Guarantee, Training Opportunities, Secondary-Tertiary Alignment Resource, trades academies, tertiary high schools, industry training, adult and community education, enrolments, participation rates, completion rates, retention rates, progression rates, and outcomes.

More tertiary education material, including information on tertiary education providers, students and other relevant material, can be found on the Education Counts website and on the websites of the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission.
The statistics in Profile & Trends 2010 are for the year ended 31 December 2010 and have been sourced from the Ministry of Education, unless otherwise stated. Some of the most recent changes in tertiary education are separately summarised for the various parts of the sector.

An article on e-learning in the tertiary education sector is included in chapter 5 of this report.

Main tertiary education events in 2011

In 2011, two polytechnics merged with other tertiary education institutions and four industry training organisations merged with other industry training organisations (see chapter 2). The 2011 performance of tertiary education providers will be used as a basis for introducing performance-linked funding in 2012.

In 2011, amendments to the Education Act 1989 included:
  • updating and strengthening the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s legal powers, and
  • establishing a new Crown agency, Education New Zealand, responsible for New Zealand’s international education promotion and representation worldwide.

Major changes to student support policy were announced in 2011 that will be implemented in 2012 and 2013, covering both the Student Loan Scheme and the Student Allowances Scheme. Some of these changes will require a legislative amendment which is expected to take place in 2012 (see chapter 11 for more detail on eligibility, loan repayment and other changes to the Student Loan Scheme).

Eight trades academies became operational in 2011, providing over 700 places for 16 and 17 year-olds.
Early indications from the Ministry of Education enrolments collection suggest that domestic enrolments are likely to decrease for the 2011 year, while international enrolments are likely to continue to increase (see chapter 17 for more information on the August 2011 enrolments snapshot).

Tertiary Education in New Zealand
New Zealand’s tertiary education sector makes a wide range of learning available, from foundation skills to doctoral studies. Through its research activities, the sector is a major contributor to the nation’s innovation.

A key feature of the New Zealand system is the integration of funding and provision across vocational education and training, higher education, workplace training, adult and community education, and tertiary education that takes place within the senior secondary school.

Funding covers all levels of tertiary education, from second-chance education to doctoral studies. Funding through the student achievement component supports the costs of teaching and learning. From 2011, funding that supports tertiary education organisations’ capability, to enable them to focus on their core roles in the tertiary education system, has been incorporated into the student achievement component.

Industry training provides workforce skills to a significant number of people. This training is designed by, and delivered in conjunction with, industry, and leads to nationally recognised qualifications. There are also targeted training funds that provide fully subsidised education and training to disadvantaged groups such as those at risk of unemployment.

The government funds such learning as foundation education, adult literacy and English for speakers of other languages. It also provides funding to providers of adult and community education.

The results of learning through tertiary education can be viewed in terms of improving competencies and attainment, or progress towards attainment, of recognised qualifications. A competency includes the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values needed to perform important tasks. The literacy, language and numeracy programmes build adults’ fluency, independence and range in language, literacy and numeracy so that they can use these competencies to participate effectively in all aspects of their lives.

The New Zealand Qualifications Framework provides a standard structure for naming and describing qualifications across levels and types of provision. It incorporates all tertiary qualifications, including the 10 levels of qualification from entry-level certificates to doctorates.

Enrolments in 2010

In 2010, the proportion of the population aged 15 years and over participating in some form of tertiary learning with an education provider was 12 percent, and more than 5 percent participated in learning that contributes towards a recognised qualification in the workplace.

There were 506,000 students  enrolled in tertiary education that contributes towards a recognised qualification at providers in 2010. Of these, 45,600 were international students, 26,000 were in targeted training programmes (including 1,980 students who took up Youth Guarantee places), 19,200 were in the Secondary-Tertiary Alignment Resource programme and 15,900 students were in formal study of less than one week’s duration.

The number of domestic students enrolled in formal tertiary study of more than one week’s duration fell slightly from 2009 to 2010. However, when converted to equivalent full-time student units, domestic enrolments increased from 2009 to 2010. That is, domestic students took on considerably higher study loads in 2010 (on average), a trend which began in 2008.

Domestic students in bachelors degrees had the largest increase in their number from 2009 to 2010 due, in part, to the population bulge of 18 to 19 year-olds continuing their move from school into tertiary education. The continued weak employment conditions also contributed to high levels of participation in tertiary education in 2010 by younger people. The number of domestic students in higher-level qualifications (levels 5 to 10) was more than 3 percent higher in 2010 than in 2009, while enrolments in level 1 to 4 certificates fell substantially. This led to the continuation of the shift from lower- to higher-level qualifications which started in 2005.

Enrolments by international students continued to recover from their low point in 2008. From 2009 to 2010, the number of international students increased by 5.2 percent to 45,600.

In 2010, there were 195,000 learners engaged in industry-based training, including 11,600 in Modern Apprenticeships.  The number of industry trainees fell from 2009 to 2010 mainly as a result of a review of industry training operational policy aimed at improving the performance of industry training and getting better value for money as well as the continuing effects of relatively high levels of unemployment in 2010.

Figure 1.1  Trends in formal students by level of study and setting


There were 11,800 school students in Gateway programmes in 2010. Gateway is designed to help secondary school students experience work-based tertiary education and or achieve credits on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework or to gain employment.

In 2010, 145,000 qualifications were completed by domestic and international students. Of the domestic students who completed a qualification, 69,100 were women and 47,600 were men.

Tertiary education that does not contribute towards a recognised qualification, such as adult and community education, attracted an estimated 109,000 enrolments in 2010. Significant cuts to government funding of this type of tertiary education took place in 2010. There were less than half as many enrolments in adult and community education in 2010 than in 2009.

Figure 1.2  Distribution of equivalent full-time students by level of study


Outcomes of tertiary education

People’s earnings reflect the quality of the skills they bring to their workplace. High-level skills help businesses to be more productive. Before the weakening of the New Zealand economy and employment market since 2008, the earnings premium for people with a bachelors or higher qualification was higher. For example, from 2000 to 2005, the earnings of people with a bachelors or higher qualification were 70 percent higher than for people without a qualification. In 2010, the earnings of people with a bachelors or higher qualification were 63 percent higher than for people with no qualification.

People with tertiary qualifications are also more likely to be employed than people without a qualification. While the continued weak economic conditions have led to higher unemployment rates for many groups, people with no qualifications and younger people (who are developing their skills and workplace experience) have had the highest unemployment rates. In 2010, the unemployment rate for people with a bachelors or higher qualification was 4.1 percent, while it was 9.4 percent for people without a qualification. Similarly, the unemployment rate for people with level 1 to 4 certificates or a diploma was 5.8 percent, while for people with only a school qualification it was 8.3 percent.

The proportion of the population aged 15 years and over with a bachelors degree or higher qualification has increased from 10 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2010. In turn, the proportion of people without a qualification or only a school qualification has become smaller. The proportion of the population aged 15 years and over with a tertiary qualification increased from 45 percent in 2000 to about 50 percent in 2005. It has remained at this level since then. Of the ethnic groups, Māori had the biggest decrease in the proportion without a qualification over the last 10 years. While the proportion of Pasifika peoples without a qualification increased, those with a bachelors or higher qualification increased from 3.7 percent in 2000 to 5.2 percent in 2010. The proportion of Māori with a bachelors or higher qualification more than doubled from 2000 to 2010 to 8.1 percent.

The proportion of the adult population holding a bachelors or higher qualification is higher for women than for men. Men continue to be more likely than women to hold tertiary certificates and diplomas. This difference reflects changes in the tertiary education participation trends over the last 15 years, with more women completing bachelors qualifications, and the expansion of industry training, which led to higher proportions of men gaining certificates and diplomas. The proportion of younger people with a bachelors or higher qualification is considerably higher than for older people. In 2010, 29 percent of people aged 25 to 34 years held a bachelors or higher qualification, compared to 18 percent for people aged 45 to 64 years.

Figure 1.3  Population aged 15 years and over (June quarter) with a bachelors degree or higher qualification by age group


Men continued to participate in the labour market at a higher rate than women, but the gap between them is smaller for people with higher-level qualifications. Young men aged 20 to 24 years were most affected by the continued weak employment market – 14 percent of them were not in employment, study or a care-giving role in 2010.

Workplace-based learning

The number of industry trainees decreased from 2009 to 2010. A review of industry training operational policy, which led to the removal of inactive trainees from funded training, was the main reason for the decrease in the number of trainees. The decrease followed two years in which the growth in the number of trainees had slowed and since 2008 the relatively high levels of unemployment continued. In 2010, the total number of workers trained throughout the year decreased by 6,660 to 194,000. The removal of inactive trainees from funded training, as part of the industry training operational policy review, led to a stronger decrease in the number of active trainees at 31 December – down by 23,600 to 102,000 trainees.

Modern Apprenticeship numbers also fell from 2009 to 2010. This was the first decrease in the number of modern apprentices since the introduction of the scheme in 2000. Young people who wish to enter a Modern Apprenticeship have to be aged between 16 and 21 years. The decline in the number of modern apprentices may reflect the reluctance of some employers to take on new apprentices at a time of low economic growth. For example, Modern Apprenticeships are widely used by the building and construction industry and the number of trainees in this industry has declined since 2008. The initiatives introduced by government in 2009 to extend the timeframe for trainees to find work while still being eligible for training subsidies, may counter, or delay, some of the effects of the weak labour market for young people in industries where Modern Apprenticeships are widely used. Trainees who change employers, or lose their jobs, can now continue their training for 12 weeks, double the previous limit.

In contrast, Gateway placements increased from 2009 to 2010 by almost 10 percent. Aimed at offering senior secondary students workplace-based learning, Gateway has expanded substantially since its introduction in 2001. There were also 1,980 places made available in 2010 for 16 to 17 year-olds through Youth Guarantee (see chapter 3 for more information about this programme).

Both the removal of inactive trainees from funded training and the weak labour market have affected industries differently. Based on the number of trainees active on 31 December, four out of every five industry training organisations had fewer industry trainees in 2010 than in 2009. Also, while there were seven industry training organisations with more trainees in 2010 than in 2009, only four of these were medium-sized or large organisations, that is, organisations with over 3,000 trainees. Of these four organisations there were only two – Retail Institute, and Skills Active – which had an increase in the number of trainees in 2009 and in 2010.

There were five industry training organisations each with over 5,000 trainees, which had decreases from 2009 to 2010 of 20 percent and over. The New Zealand Industry Training Organisation, which covers leather, meat, dairy and other industries, had the biggest decrease in the number of trainees, down from 12,000 in 2009 to just below 6,000 in 2010. Competenz, which covers engineering, food and manufacturing, had 25 percent fewer learners in 2010 than in 2009. At 9,960 learners it is now New Zealand’s biggest industry training organisation. The other three large organisations with a 20 percent or higher decrease in the number of trainees from 2009 to 2010 were building and construction services, the hospitality trade and community support services.

Figure 1.4  Learners in industry training


Provider-based students in levels 1 to 3

In 2010, enrolments in level 1 to 3 qualifications represented 20 percent of all equivalent full-time student units in formal provider-based tertiary education.

The total number of students participating in provider-based level 1 to 3 certificates has decreased steadily since 2005. This trend continued to decrease between 2009 and 2010. The largest decrease was in the number of students in level 1 to 2 certificates, while there was a relatively smaller decrease in the number of level 3 certificate students. Learners in Training Opportunities and Youth Training also decreased in number from 2009 to 2010, while the Youth Guarantee programme, introduced in 2010, provided nearly 2,000 fees-free places for 16 and 17 year-olds.
The decreases in enrolments at this level reflect continued tightening of funding allocations. Therefore the weak economic conditions and labour market have not resulted in more people studying at this level.
The number of international students studying at level 1 to 3 decreased slightly in 2010, following a small increase in 2009. Asia is still the largest source region for students studying at this level.
There are big differences in achievement between full-time and part-time students in student component-funded qualifications at these levels. Of students starting in 2008, 73 percent of full-time students had completed a certificate by 2010, compared to only 36 percent of part-time students. Similarly, full-time students are twice as likely to progress to further study compared with part-time students.
In level 1 and 2 qualifications, full-time students make up only 34 percent of students. However, most of the decrease in student numbers at this level has been in part-time students, meaning that more of the provision is focusing on full-time students. At level 3, full-time students make up 56 percent of students. The number of part-time students has also decreased at this level.

Figure 1.5  Students in level 1 to 3 provider-based qualifications


Provider-based students in non-degree levels 4 to 7

In 2010, students enrolled in level 4 to 7 non-degree qualifications represented 26 percent of all equivalent full-time student units in provider-based tertiary education.

In 2010, the number of students enrolled in level 4 to 7 non-degree study increased slightly. This was made up of an increase in enrolments in level 5 to 7 certificates and diplomas and a decline in enrolments in level 4 certificates. The overall study load, as measured in equivalent full-time student units, remained almost unchanged from the 2009 level. These patterns were the same for domestic and international students. In 2010, there were 135,000 domestic students enrolled in level 4 to 7 non-degree study and 17,000 international students.

Figure 1.6  Participation in non-degree level 4 to 7 provider-based qualifications by gender


As a proportion, enrolments by men in these qualification levels increased by more than those by women, although women still dominate this level of study.

By age group, there was little or no change for the older age groups, while the number of students aged 18 years and under fell substantially from 2009 to 2010. However, there are relatively few under 18 year-olds enrolled in these levels. The majority of students in these levels are aged 25 years and over.

Māori and Asian student numbers increased at a higher rate than the average increase for these levels, while European students showed a slightly lower than average increase.
Most students in level 4 to 7 non-degree qualifications are enrolled in polytechnics, and the number of enrolments at these institutions showed a slight increase over the 2009 figures. Universities, which have the lowest proportion of these students, showed a substantial decline in enrolments at these qualification levels.

The increasing number of level 5 to 7 diploma students is resulting in increased numbers of qualifications completed at this level. The rate at which students complete level 5 to 7 diplomas and level 4 certificates is about the same.

The rates at which students complete these qualifications and progress on to higher-level study have fluctuated over recent years. Progression rates decrease as the qualification level increases, so progression is more likely for level 4 certificate students.

While domestic students are enrolled in about equal numbers in level 4 certificates and level 5 to 7 diplomas, international students are predominately enrolled in the diploma-level qualifications. Enrolments by international students in level 5 to 7 diploma-level study increased by 10 percent in 2010, compared with 2009.

Provider-based students in bachelors and postgraduate qualifications

In 2010, enrolments in bachelors degree and graduate certificates and diplomas represented 44 percent of all equivalent full-time student units in provider-based tertiary education. Those in postgraduate qualifications accounted for 11 percent.

The number of students enrolled in bachelors and higher qualifications increased in 2010, up nearly 4 percent on the 2009 figures. Equivalent full-time student units increased slightly more, indicating that the study load of students in these qualifications increased in 2010.

Student numbers increased at all qualification levels, with honours degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas, and masters degrees showing increases above the average for these levels.

Most students in bachelors or higher qualifications study at a university. From 2009 to 2010, universities showed an increase in their domestic student numbers below the average increase for these levels. Polytechnics, wānanga and private training establishments showed substantial increases, albeit from small bases.

Figure 1.7  Participation in bachelors and higher-level qualifications by gender


The numbers of Māori and Pasifika students also showed above average increases, as did students aged 20 to 24 years. The number of students aged less than 18 years continued to decline in 2010. This decline is likely to be because of the tendency for students to stay longer at school, partly due to the weak labour market.

Business and management is the largest field of study for bachelors degrees. Teacher education is the largest field of study for students in bachelors or higher qualifications, with a large amount of study at graduate certificate and diploma level. The numbers of students in business and management and teacher education showed little change from 2009 to 2010. The largest increase was in nursing, with the number of students in this field increasing by 10 percent from 2009 to 2010.

The retention and completion rates of bachelors and postgraduate students have been relatively stable over the short term, but showed longer-term increases. There is a big difference in completion rates between part-time and full-time students, especially at bachelors level. Seventy-one percent of the domestic full-time students who started a bachelors degree in 2005 had completed this qualification by 2009, compared to 42 percent of part-time students.
International students enrolled in bachelors and higher qualifications increased by nearly 6 percent from 2009 to 2010, with increases above the average for these levels in honours degrees, postgraduate certificates/diplomas, masters degrees and doctoral studies. Almost two-thirds of international students are enrolled in bachelors degrees, and these students increased by over 4 percent from 2009 to 2010. This was the first increase after several years of declining numbers.

Student support

Following changes made by government to widen access to student allowances in 2006, the number of recipients has increased by more than 10 percent, on average, per year. In 2010, there were 95,900 student allowances recipients.
More students have taken up loans since the introduction of interest-free loans in 2006. However, from 2009 to 2010 the number of first-time borrowers decreased slightly. Overall, the number of student loan borrowers increased from 2009 to 2010 to 212,000, including 63,500 first-time borrowers.

In 2010, the average amount borrowed was $16,700 and the median amount borrowed was $11,400. In 2005, before the introduction of interest-free loans, the median balance was $10,400.

There were 587,000 New Zealanders with a student loan balance with Inland Revenue in 2010, up 4.6 percent on the previous year. However, 60 percent of people with a student loan owed less than $15,000, compared to 61 percent in 2009.

Loan repayments to Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development totalled $754 million for the year ended June 2010. Over 70 percent of repayments are collected via the PAYE system.

Figure 1.8  Student allowances recipients and student loan borrowers


Research in the tertiary education sector

The research performance of the tertiary sector improved in several areas in 2010. The volume of enrolments in doctoral degrees increased significantly, continuing a trend which began in 2006. This trend has been driven mainly by a large increase in international enrolments, which occurred in response to a change in government policy in 2006 to fund international doctoral students on the same basis as domestic students. International students comprised around 35 percent of doctoral enrolments in 2010, compared to 14 percent in 2005. An encouraging trend has seen continued increases in enrolments of Māori and Pasifika in doctorates.

Figure 1.9  Participation in doctoral study by gender


As a result of the increased doctoral enrolments, the supervisory load placed on academics has continued to rise, with the number of doctoral enrolments per academic staff at several universities doubling since 2005.

The surge in enrolments at doctoral level has begun to be reflected in doctoral degree completions. There was significant growth in the number of doctoral degrees completed by international students.

The universities showed improvement in research output. Total research output increased at four of the five universities that reported research output in 2010.

As a percentage of world indexed publications, the share of publications and citations produced by researchers at New Zealand tertiary education institutions has been increasing over time.

Sector capability

The financial performance of the 31 tertiary education institutions improved significantly in 2010. All three sub-sectors performed better on all of the financial viability and sustainability measures monitored by the Tertiary Education Commission. For instance:

  • 28 of the 31 institutions had an operating surplus (before abnormals) above 3 percent of operating revenue – which is one of the Tertiary Education Commission's benchmarks for prudent financial performance, compared to 14 of 33 in 2005.
  • the aggregate operating surplus (before abnormals) of the 31 institutions was 5.2 percent of revenue – against 2.3 percent in 2005, and
  • only one institution had an operating deficit (before abnormals), compared to nine in 2005.

Cash cover – a measure of immediate viability – was also much stronger in 2010 than in 2005.

The institutions have continued to invest in maintaining and improving their capability. Capital expenditure rose by 2.9 percent in 2010 – and was 33 percent above the level of 2005.

While tertiary education institutions had strong financial performance, industry training organisations experienced difficult financial conditions in 2010. Collectively, the industry training organisations had an operating deficit of $10 million – 3.9 percent of operating revenue. More than half (53 percent) had a deficit, while only 28 percent had a surplus of more than 3 percent of revenue. The corresponding figures for 2005 were 16 percent with a deficit and 73 percent with a surplus of more than 3 percent of revenue.

Two factors contributed to the weak financial performance of the industry training sector. The first was the continued weaker economic conditions, which led to reduced employment in some industries, resulting in a decrease in on-job training. The second factor was the Tertiary Education Commission's review of compliance with industry training rules which led to funding for inactive trainees being reclaimed.

Figure 1.10  Summary financial position of tertiary education institutions


Academic and non-academic full-time equivalent staff

The number of academic staff at public tertiary education institutions continued to decrease from 2009 to 2010, reflecting restructuring in some institutions. The non-academic staff also continued to increase, a pattern that started in 2007. The latest decrease in the academic full-time equivalent staff  was only small, as the decrease at the universities was largely offset by increases at the polytechnics and wānanga. The latest increase in the non-academic full-time equivalent staff from 2009 to 2010 was strongest in the universities.

Academic staff (headcount)

At universities, the downward trend in the number of lecturers continued in 2010 as did the upward trend in the number of professors, research only staff and other academic staff. At polytechnics, the pattern among the various types of academic staff has been stable in recent years. From 2009 to 2010, an increase in the number of lecturers at polytechnics was partially offset by a decrease in the number of department heads. At wānanga, the academic workforce has increased in number from a low point in 2007. From 2009 to 2010, there were strong increases in the number of senior lecturers and other academic staff at wānanga.

Personnel costs

Expenditure on the workforce has represented 58 percent of all expenditure in tertiary education institutions in recent years. In 2010, personnel expenditure amounted to $2.44 billion, up 5.4 percent on 2009.

Investing in knowledge and skills

Total government spending on tertiary education in the year ended June 2011 increased by 0.4 percent on the previous year to reach $5.4 billion.  In inflation-adjusted terms, this represented a decrease of 2.4 percent. When new lending on student loans is excluded, total government expenditure on tertiary education decreased by 0.4 percent and when adjusted for inflation the decrease was 2.9 percent.

In 2010/11, government funding of tertiary education accounted for 2.7 percent of gross domestic product. When new lending on student loans is excluded, it represented 1.9 percent of gross domestic product.

Tertiary education expenditure increased on tuition subsidies, research, provider capability, student allowances and student loans. Expenditure on the Industry Training Fund, Training Opportunities and Youth Training fell.

The number of equivalent full-time student places funded by the Tertiary Education Commission through the student achievement component increased in 2010. Government spending on tuition subsidies also increased as a result of increases in the number of student places and base funding rates.

There was still considerable over-delivery in 2010 in universities and private training establishments, reflecting the impact of the weak labour market in boosting participation in student achievement component-funded courses.
The average domestic tuition fee per equivalent full-time student increased by 5.6 percent at public tertiary education institutions. Part of this increase was due to a continued move away from enrolments in low-cost courses. Overall, the affordability of tertiary education declined in 2010, as the growth in average incomes continued to be modest due to the weaker economic conditions.

The contribution by government towards industry training fell, while the contribution by industry rose in 2010. This resulted in the government’s share falling. This fall was a result of a review into industry training and the impact of the weak labour market.

Figure 1.11  Government spending (June years) on tertiary education


Download Individual Chapters

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File Type & Size
     Profile & Trends 2011 - Full Report
[PDF 2.4MB]
[PDF 552KB]
     Chapter 1: Key tertiary education findings [PDF 581KB]
     Chapter 2: The tertiary education system
[PDF 565KB]
     Chapter 3: What the sector provides
[PDF 545KB]
     Chapter 4: Outcomes of tertiary education
[PDF 536KB]
     Chapter 5: An overview of the learners in tertiary education
[PDF 591KB]
     Chapter 6: Workplace-based learners
[PDF 599KB]
     Chapter 7: Provider-based students in levels 1 to 3
[PDF 604KB]
     Chapter 8: Provider-based students in non-degree levels 4 to 7
[PDF 550KB]
     Chapter 9: Provider-based students in bachelors and postgraduate qualifications
[PDF 560KB]
     Chapter 10: Non-formal education
[PDF 483KB]
     Chapter 11: Financial support for students
[PDF 626KB]
     Chapter 12: Research in the tertiary education sector[PDF 544KB]
     Chapter 13: Funding research in tertiary education[PDF 531KB]
     Chapter 14: The financial performance of public tertiary education institutions[PDF 587KB]
     Chapter 15: The tertiary education workforce[PDF 532KB]
     Chapter 16: Funding of tertiary education[PDF 569KB]
     Chapter 17: Tertiary education sector performance [PDF 600KB]
     Chapter 18: Postscript - The 2011 Year[PDF 493KB]
     Chapter 19: Finding out more about Tertiary Education
[PDF 606KB]

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