2010 Tertiary Education Enrolments

Publication Details

  • More students enrolled in higher-level qualifications in 2010, while the number in lower-level certificates continued to decline.
  • Participation rates in tertiary education increased for younger people.
  • Upward trends in international student numbers continued in 2010.

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

Date Published: August 2011

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In 2010, there were 466,000 students enrolled in formal tertiary study1 with tertiary education providers.

Formal enrolments (including inter-national students) decreased by 0.5 percent from 2009 to 2010. In terms of equivalent full-time student units, enrolments increased from 2009 to 2010 by 1.8 percent to 286,000.

The number of domestic students decreased by 1.1 percent from 2009 to 2010 to 420,000. However, the total amount of study by domestic students increased from 2009 to 2010 by 1.6 percent to 255,000 equivalent full-time student units.

The shift from the lowest level qualifications (certificates 1 to 3) to higher-level qualifications (levels 4 to 10) continued in 2010. There were 13,300 fewer domestic enrolments in level 1 to 3 certificates and 6,070 more enrolments in higher-level qualifica-tions.

Enrolments by domestic students aged 18 to 24 years increased in number from 2009 to 2010 by 3.9 percent. The participation rate in tertiary education increased from 2009 to 2010 for 18 to 19 year-olds by 0.8 percentage points to 48.4 percent and for 20 to 24 year-olds by 0.4 percentage points to 34.4 percent.

Enrolments by international students increased by 5.2 percent from 2010 to 2009 to 45,600. In terms of study load, the increase in international enrolments was smaller – up by 3.3 percent to 30,700 equivalent full-time student units.

The trend in provider-based enrolments needs to be seen against a decrease from 2009 to 2010 of ? percent in the number of people in workplace-based learning. This decline reflects the removal of inactive industry trainees from the register in the second half of 2010 as well as the continued weak employment conditions. The total number of trainees in 2010 was ?, compared to 202,000 trainees in 2009. More detailed information on work-based learners will come available later this year.

The number of students in formal study of less than one week’s duration fell by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010 to 35,100 enrolments and the provision of non-formal courses in tertiary education institutions decreased by 12 percent in 2010 to 71,800 enrolments.


  1. Students enrolled at any time during the year with a tertiary education provider in formal learning (that is, contributing towards a recognised qualification) of more than one week’s duration. Formal learning in the workplace is not included in these figures

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