Tertiary education enrolments by international students

Why This Is Important

Providing education for international students has benefits for individuals, institutions and wider society.  This means that the New Zealand economy stands to benefit substantially from planned and managed growth of the export education sector.  It will help build the international relationships, skills and knowledge that are vital to New Zealand's future viability in the international economy.

Both domestic and international students benefit from exposure to other cultures and perspectives, enabling them to develop skills to succeed in cross-cultural contexts.  Export education initiatives can mean access to courses of study that might not otherwise be available.  They can also offer opportunities to develop personal and institutional relationships of long-term value.

Institutions can use the income generated from export education activities to invest in their ongoing development, for example, by improving facilities and increasing staffing.  Teaching and learning programmes can be enhanced by the participation of international students.  Staff benefit from international linkages, and from achieving greater competence in cross-cultural teaching.

Indicator Description

This indicator includes two measures for international students in tertiary education in New Zealand:

1. International students as a proportion of all students in formal tertiary study:


Numerator: (Source: Ministry of Education: Tertiary Student Enrolments & Completions)


Number of international students enrolled in a tertiary qualification at any time during the calendar year.

Denominator: (Source: Ministry of Education: Tertiary Student Enrolments & Completions)


Total number of students enrolled in a tertiary qualification at any time during the calendar year.

2. The number of international students enrolled in a tertiary education qualification at any time during the calendar year.

Note: Data refers to the study of qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework of more than one week's duration.  This type of tertiary study is described as formal study.

Interpretation Issues

International students are those studying here without New Zealand/Australian citizenship or permanent residence status.  Students studying off-shore at tertiary education providers that are registered in New Zealand are considered international students unless they hold New Zealand citizenship.

Although international students are usually required to pay the full cost of their tuition, Australian citizens living in New Zealand are treated as domestic students and pay domestic fees.

International students studying towards a recognised doctoral qualification in New Zealand are funded in the same way as domestic doctoral students, and attract student achievement-component funding.

Data excludes private training establishments and other tertiary education providers which neither received tuition subsidies nor were approved for student loans or allowances.

Indicator Pages


Where To Find Out More

Contact Us

Education Data Requests
If you have any questions about education data then please contact us at:
Email:      Requests EDK
Phone:    +64 4 463 8065