Government funding of tertiary education
What We Have Found
Share in gross domestic product stable in 2018
Government funding of tertiary education was 1.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2018 and 2017 (June years). Before this, in 2010, a high point was reached of 2.3 percent.
Government tertiary education expenditure increased from 2017 to 2018 to $4.56 billion. After adjusting for inflation, the increase was smaller.
Date Updated: December 2018
This indicator includes nominal and inflation-adjusted government expenditure on tertiary education. It also looks at government-funded tertiary education as a percentage of gross domestic product. See the ‘definition’ document for a more detailed description of these measures.
How We Are Going
Government-funded tertiary education – 1.6 percent of GDP in 2018
Government’s expenditure on tertiary education represented 1.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2018 and 2017 (June years). This compared to a high point reached in 2010 of 2.3 percent of gross domestic product. A factor in the decrease since 2010 is that while government expenditure on tertiary education has been relatively constant in nominal terms, gross domestic product has increased from 2011 onwards.
Figure 1: Government funding on tertiary education as a percentage of gross domestic product
Increased funding for research, student allowances and the introduction of fees-free study
Government funding increased from 2017 to 2018 (June years) for research and research-led teaching to $622 million and for student allowances to $511 million. Expenditure on the introduction of government’s fees-free study totalled $130 million.
Government funding decreased from 2017 to 2018 for tuition subsidies to $2,180 million. Expenditure was also slightly lower in 2018 than in 2017 for industry training, at $172 million, and student loans, down to $594 million. Student loans expenditure is the initial write-down on new borrowing.
Government’s total expenditure on tertiary education increased by 2.5 percent from 2017 to 2018 (June years) to $4.56 billion. After adjusting for inflation, the increase was smaller, at 0.9 percent. In 2018, $1.11 billion was spent on student allowances and student loans.
Figure 2: Total government expenditure on tertiary education (June years)
In nominal terms, total government spending on tertiary education (including student support and capital expenditure) grew by 17 percent from 2007/08 to 2017/18, from $3.90 billion. In real terms, this represented an increase of 0.4 percent.
- Ministry of Education (2017) Profile and Trends 2016: New Zealand's Tertiary Education Sector [Part 5] Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Performance-Based Research Fund, centres of research excellence and Vote Science and Innovation contestable funds.