International student enrolments in New Zealand 2002-2008

Publication Details

This report summarises the publicly available data, from four main sources, on enrolments of international students within New Zealand education provider sectors from 2002 to 2008. Summary information is also stated on the numbers of approved student visas and permits during the 2002/03 to 2008/09 financial years.

Author(s): International Division, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: July 2009

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Section 1: Introduction

This report summarises the publicly available data, from four main sources, on enrolments of international students within New Zealand education provider sectors from 2002 to 2008.  Summary information is also stated on the numbers of approved student visas and permits during the 2002/03 to 2008/09 financial years.

This information is disaggregated by origin, according to the key markets of North Asia, South-East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America, and the developing markets of Latin America and South Asia.  Further information is given on the estimated economic value-added to New Zealand from international education.

Sources

The information in this memorandum is based on public data released by the Ministry of Education, Statistics New Zealand, and the Immigration Service of the Department of Labour.

School enrolments

The Ministry's data on international enrolments within schools is stated as at 1 July from 2002 to 2005, and is from the roll returns summaries listed on the International Students in New Zealand page of the Education Counts website.

Tertiary enrolments

The Ministry's data on international enrolments within public and private tertiary education organisations is for the years 2002 to 2005, and summarises those students enrolled at any time during the year in formal qualifications of more than a weeks duration at the 35 public tertiary educational institutions and the 263 private providers that received Ministry of Education funding, or that enrolled students in receipt of student loans or student allowances (i.e. 'Single Data Return' providers). The statistics represent student numbers rather than enrolments, and include exchange, scholarship, and foreign fee-paying students.

English Language Provider enrolments

The information on enrolments within English language providers (ELP) is from the annual Statistics New Zealand Survey of English Language Providers, for the financial years ended 31 March 2002 to 31 March 2006 (Statistics New Zealand). As a convention to aggregate the data sources used in the tables in this report, the English Language Provider data from Statistics New Zealand is stated as covering the previous calendar year, for example the ELP data for the year ended 31 March 2006 is included in the '2005' period.

Immigration data

The Immigration New Zealand website (Department of Labour) publishes monthly updates on the numbers of approved applications for student visas and permits.  While this information source provides a timely update on the origins of prospective international students, the data is not able to be matched with the actual enrolments in different providers, as this information is not collected by the Department of Labour.


A point to be borne in mind when referring to student visa and permit data is that it can understate total student numbers, as many enrolees in English Language Providers are believed to be in New Zealand on visitor visas.

The Export Education Levy

The periods used for 2002 to 2005 are not directly comparable with the calendar year information recorded for the Export Education Levy (EEL), which has been administered by the Ministry of Education since January 2003.   The EEL is paid by all providers which enrol international fee-paying students.  Information on the national origins of enrolments has been collected from January 2006.


A limitation of the EEL data is that it only records enrolments of international fee-paying students, and so does not include students who have domestic fees status with New Zealand state education providers. This group includes exchange students, and international Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students who enrolled from 19 April 2005.   The latest Summary Export Education Levy (EEL) data is on the Internationalisation of Education providers page of Education Counts.

Summary

From a peak of 126,919 international enrolments in 2002 there has been a 28% decline to 88,557 enrolments in 2008.  This decline initially mainly affected private training establishments and schools, and from 2005 a reduction in total enrolments within the public tertiary education sector was also recorded.  A graphical representation of this data is shown in Chart 1.

Table 1:  International enrolments by provider groups
Notes:
  1. Sources 2002–2005: Schools data is as at 1 July (Ministry of Education roll returns). Tertiary data, for public and private providers, is for full calendar years 2001 to 2005 (Ministry of Education Single Data Return database). English language provider data is for the financial years ended 31 March 2002 to 2006 (Statistics New Zealand Survey of English Language Providers).
  2. Sources: 2006–2008: Export Education Levy database for the full calendar year for schools, state tertiary providers, and private training establishments (described as 'SDR' and 'non-SDR' private providers). The latter category includes English language providers.  Subsidiary providers are mainly the English-language training affiliates of the eight universities.
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Schools 
15,259 17,448 14,477 11,984 13,934 15,574 15,643
Public Tertiary Education Institutions
30,714 39,009 43,047 40,706 35,261 31,143 29,127
Private Training Establishments
9,443 10,475 9,876 5,807 43,909 41,998 40,912
English Language Providers
71,503 50,689 43,417 35,749 .. .. ..
Subsidiary Providers
n/a n/a n/a n/a 2,192 2,586 2,875
126,919 117,621 110,817 94,246 95,296 91,301 88,557
Chart 1: Enrolments of international students in New Zealand, by provider groups

Image of Chart 1: Enrolments of international students in New Zealand, by provider groups.

Footnote

  1. The tertiary education sector includes the publicly-funded institutions of the universities, institutes of technology/polytechnics, wananga, and teachers colleges; and the private training establishments (PTEs) that receive government funding for their students.