2013 Tertiary Education Enrolments

Publication Details

  • The number of students in formal tertiary education decreased by 0.8 percent to 418,000. When converted to equivalent full-time student units, the decrease was smaller, at 0.2 percent.
  • Domestic students declined in number from 2012 to 2013, while the number of international students increased.
  • The latest decrease in domestic enrolments was due mainly to fewer non-degree enrolments by students aged 25 years and over, while enrolments in bachelors and higher qualifications by younger students increased.
This report includes information on students: choice of provider, qualifications taken, and other important characteristics of people undertaking tertiary education study.

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

Date Published: May 2014

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Summary

Enrolments Trend

The number of formal tertiary education enrolments fell from 2012 to 2013. The fall was due to a decline in enrolments by domestic students, while enrolments by international students continued to increase.

The shift from lower- to higher-level study decreased slightly in 2013 (Figure 1.1). When this shift began in 2005, less than half the enrolments by domestic students were in degree and higher qualifications, compared to 56 percent in 2013.

Enrolments by students aged 18 to 24 years in non-degree qualifications continued to fall in 2013 and while enrolments in degree and higher qualifications by this group increased from 2012 to 2013, the increase was small. Enrolments by students aged 25 years and over fell at every qualification level from 2012 to 2013, with continued strong decreases in the number of enrolments in non-degree qualifications.

Formal enrolments at public tertiary education institutions declined from 2012 to 2013, while they increased at private training establishments. The increase at private training establishments* was mainly due to an increase in the number of enrolments in level 1 to 3 certificates.

*When Youth Training was discontinued in 2012, private training establishments could apply to deliver Youth Guarantee fees-free places and this led to more of them supplying information to the Ministry of Education on their total enrolments in 2013.  A number of private training establishments also began delivery of level 1 and 2 qualifications in 2013 as a result of the recently introduced competitive funding process for these qualifications.

Figure 1.1: Distribution of domestic study by qualification level


pubID-146820-fig1.1 Note:

  1. 'Bachelors' includes graduate certificates and diplomas.

In 2013, there were 418,000 students (including international students) enrolled in formal study  with tertiary education providers.

The number of formal students (including international students) decreased by 0.8 percent from 2012 to 2013. The latest decrease was due to fewer domestic students (down 0.9 percent), partially offset by an increase in the number of international students (up 0.6 percent).

The latest decrease in enrolments was smaller in terms of equivalent full-time student units (down by 0.2 percent) to 278,000 (Figure 1.2). While the total domestic study load fell less strongly than the number of students, the average study load per domestic student did not alter greatly from 2012 to 2013.

In 2013, the number of domestic students was 370,000 and the number of international students was 48,000. These enrolments converted to 245,000 domestic equivalent full-time student units and 33,100 international equivalent full-time student units

Figure 1.2: Annual change in formal tertiary education enrolmentspubID-146820-fig1.2

The decrease in domestic enrolments from 2012 to 2013 was mainly due to fewer enrolments in non-degree qualifications as well as fewer enrolments at bachelors level. Level 4 certificate and level 5 to 7 diploma enrolments decreased by 5,620 and degree and higher-level enrolments decreased by 1,630. Partially offsetting these decreases was an increase in level 1 to 3 certificates of 1,660 overall.

The continued decrease in domestic non-degree enrolments follows larger declines in lower-level certificate enrolments since 2005. While the downward trend in non-degree enrolments has continued to be strongest for students aged 25 years and over, from 2012 to 2013, there were also 2,170 fewer non-degree enrolments by students aged 18 to 24 years.

Figure 1.3: Domestic and international tertiary education enrolmentspubID-146820-fig1.3

Domestic enrolments by younger students – those aged 18 to 24 years – decreased by 0.4 percent from 2012 to 2013, following a similar size increase from 2011 to 2012, and a decrease of 2.5 percent from 2010 to 2011. The decrease from 2010 to 2011 was the first decrease for this age group since 1997 and it followed large increases in enrolments in 2009 and 2010 when the labour market was especially weak.  Also, enrolments in Christchurch were lower in 2011 following the February earthquake.

The latest decrease in enrolments by 18 to 24 year-olds was due to fewer non-degree enrolments, partially offset by an increase in enrolments in degree and higher qualifications.

Tertiary education enrolments by people aged under 18 years increased in 2013 for the first time since 2005.  In part, this is likely to be due to increases in the number of Youth Guarantee fees-free places and also to more private training establishments supplying information to the Ministry of Education on their total enrolments in 2013.  Additionally, a number of private training establishments also began delivery of level 1 and 2 qualifications in 2013 as a result of the recently introduced competitive funding process for these qualifications.

Figure 1.3 shows an increase in international student numbers from 2012 to 2013, although since 2011 these numbers have stabilised. In terms of equivalent full-time student units, enrolments by international students have been increasing since 2008.

From 2012 to 2013, the number of students in formal study of less than one week's duration decreased by 12 percent to 21,200. The provision of non-formal courses in tertiary education organisations has decreased by 17 percent to 43,800 students. In terms of equivalent full-time student units, non-formal courses in tertiary education organisations increased by 3.5 percent from 2012 to 2013.

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