Participation

Participation in tertiary education in New Zealand.

Students enrolled at New Zealand’s tertiary institutions

The following section summarises the key trends in enrolments, equivalent full-time students (EFTS) and participation rates at universities, institutes of technology and polytechs (ITPs), wānanga and government-funded private training establishments. The data covers domestic and international students that were enrolled during the 12 months to December 2018.

Provider based enrolments

What does the 2018 data show?

  • The overall number of students enrolled in formal study at tertiary providers decreased by 2.1 percent (8,530), from 404,750 in 2017 to 396,220 in 2018.
  • Domestic student numbers decreased by 2.3 percent (8,020), from 343,430 to 335,410. This continues a downward trend that started in 2009. International student numbers also decreased slightly by 0.8 percent (510), from 61,320 to 60,810.
  • The only ethnic group with an increase in domestic enrolments between 2017 and 2018 was Asian with an increase of 2.6 percent (1,245). Enrolments for other major groups all fell (Māori by 4.9 percent, Pacific Peoples by 3.9 percent and European by 2.1 percent).
  • The overall participation rate for domestic students at tertiary education providers fell from 8.9 percent in 2017 to 8.6 percent for 2018. The largest decreases by ethnic group were for Māori and Pacific Peoples (by approximately 0.9 and 0.7 percentage points respectively).
  • Student numbers decreased overall at polytechnics by 3.6 percent (4,995), at wānanga by 5.7 percent (2,275) and at PTEs by 5.4 percent (3,435), but increased overall at universities by 0.8 percent (1,405).
  • Decreases in the total study load, measured in EFTS, mirror the downward pattern in student numbers.

Total participation

The overall number of students enrolled in formal study at tertiary education providers in 2018 decreased by 2.1 percent (8,530), from 404,750 to 396,220. Domestic student numbers decreased by 2.3 percent (8,020), from 343,430 to 335,410. This continues a downward trend that started in 2009. International student numbers decreased by 0.8 percent (510), from 61,320 to 60,810 (see Table 1).

The overall participation rate  for domestic students at tertiary education providers fell from 8.9 percent to 8.6 percent for 2018. Participation remains higher for females (10.2 percent) than males (6.9 percent) (see Figure 1).

Table 1: Comparison of total 2017 and 2018 domestic and international student enrolments, EFTS and participation rates
  Number of students enrolled Number of EFTS Participation Rate (%)
20172018 % change20172018 % change20172018 % point change
Total 404,745 396,220 -2.1 266,400 263,015 -1.3    
Domestic 343,430 335,410 -2.3 223,295 220,215 -1.4 8.9 8.6 -0.3
Female 200,885 198,875 -1.0 131,095 131,465 0.3 10.5 10.2 -0.3
Male 142,545 136,535 -4.2 92,205 88,755 -3.7 7.3 6.9 -0.4
International 61,320 60,810 -0.8 43,105 42,795 -0.7 n/a n/a n/a

Figure 1: Domestic student enrolments, EFTS and participation rates 2009-2018
Bar Graph

Participation by ethnicity

Table 2 compares domestic enrolments, EFTS and participation rates for the main ethnic groups for 2017 and 2018. Asian students were the only group where enrolments increased for 2018. Enrolments for this group have increased in keeping with population change. The largest age group among tertiary students is 20 to 24 years and this age group has trebled in New Zealand’s Asian population over the last 20 years[1].

Enrolments for the other main ethnic groups all decreased in 2018. For Māori, the decrease was 4.9 percent (3,860 students) to 75,625, for Pacific Peoples it was 3.9 percent (1,335 students) and European 2.1 percent (4,485 students). Enrolment changes were reflected in EFTS numbers, with an increase for Asian students (by 2.1 percent) and decreases for other groups in line with decreases in enrolments. The largest decreases were for Māori and Pacific Peoples, largely due to decreased enrolments for Level 4 certificates (by 17 percent for both groups) and Level 2 certificates (by 13 percent and 14 percent respectively).

Figure 2 shows participation rates by ethnicity for 2013 to 2018. While Māori and Pacific rates remain higher than other groups, decreased enrolments are reflected in decreased participation rates and continue the downward trend of recent years. The participation rate for Asian students remained stable in 2018, since while enrolment numbers increased, so did the population.

Table 2: Comparison of 2017 and 2018 domestic student enrolments, EFTS and participation rates by ethnicity
Ethnicity Number of students enrolled Number of EFTS Participation Rate (%)
20172018 % change20172018 % change20172018 % point change
European 213,420 208,935 -2.1 136,380 135,265 -0.8 8.9 8.7 -0.2
Māori 79,485 75,625 -4.9 51,295 48,985 -4.5 13.7 12.8 -0.9
Pacific Peoples 33,800 32,465 -3.9 22,400 21,945 -2.0 10.1 9.4 -0.7
Asian 48,805 50,050 2.6 35,060 35,810 2.1 7.4 7.3 0.1
Other 16,500 16,485 -0.1 10,600 10,675 0.7 n/a n/a n/a
Total 343,430 335,410 -2.3 223,295 220,215 -1.4 8.9 8.6 -0.3
Figure 2: Domestic participation rates by ethnicity 2013-2018
Bar Graph

Participation by subsector

Most subsectors showed a decrease in student enrolments in 2018. Student numbers decreased overall at ITPs by 3.6 percent (4,995), from 138,080 to 133,085. The decrease at wānanga was 5.7 percent (2,275), from 39,975 to 37,700, with a similar decrease at PTEs by 5.4 percent (3,435), from 64,150 to 60,715. The exception was universities which had an increase in enrolments of 0.8 percent (1,405), from 173,835 to 175,240 (see Table 3).

The largest decreases in domestic enrolments were at wānanga (by 5.7 percent, or 2,275 students), PTEs (3.9 percent, or 1,945) and ITPs (3.4 percent, or 4,035). For international enrolments the largest decrease was for PTEs (10.6 percent, or 1,490) followed by ITPs (5.2 percent, or 955). These decreases were nearly balanced by an increase in international enrolments at universities (by 6.6 percent, or 1,950).

Table 3: Comparison of 2017 and 2018 domestic and international student enrolments, EFTS and participation rates by subsector
 Subsector Number of students enrolled Number of EFTS
20172018 % change20172018 % change
Domestic Universities 144,230 143,690 -0.4 110,824 111,752 0.8
Institutes of technology and polytechnics 119,800 115,765 -3.4 59,390 57,130 -3.8
Wānanga 39,950 37,675 -5.7 24,337 23,473 -3.6
All public providers 298,035 291,605 -2.2 194,551 192,355 -1.1
Private training establishments 50,130 48,185 -3.9 28,746 27,863 -3.1
Total 343,430 335,410 -2.3 223,296 220,217 -1.4
International Universities 29,600 31,550 6.6 22,216 23,960 7.9
Institutes of technology and polytechnics 18,275 17,320 -5.2 12,248 11,370 -7.2
Wānanga 25 25 s.. 15 17 s..
All public providers 47,715 48,710 2.1 34,479 35,347 2.5
Private training establishments 14,020 12,530 -10.6 8,627 7,449 -13.6
Total 61,320 60,810 -0.8 43,106 42,796 -0.7
Total Universities 173,835 175,240 0.8 133,040 135,712 2.0
Institutes of technology and polytechnics 138,080 133,085 -3.6 71,638 68,499 -4.4
Wānanga 39,975 37,700 -5.7 24,352 23,490 -3.5
All public providers 345,750 340,315 -1.6 229,030 227,701 -0.6
Private training establishments 64,150 60,715 -5.4 37,372 35,312 -5.5
Total 404,745 396,220 -2.1 266,402 263,013 -1.3

Participation by qualification level/type

There were 11,600 (5.9 percent) fewer student enrolments in 2018 in Level 1-7 diploma or certificate level qualifications than in 2017. This continues a similar decrease in enrolments for non-degree qualifications between 2016 and 2017. Enrolments in bachelors degrees have remained at over 145,000 since 2016 and post-graduate numbers have generally been increasing in recent years. Total enrolments in bachelors or higher level qualifications totalled 220,055 in 2018.

The largest decrease in enrolments for non-degree qualifications in 2018 was for Level 2 certificates (by 10.4 percent, or 2,980 students), followed by Level 4 certificates (by 9 percent or 5,635 students), then diplomas and certificates at Levels 5 to 7 with an 8.2 percent decrease (or 4,980 students).

Table 4: Comparison of 2017 and 2018 domestic and international student enrolments and EFTS rates by qualification level/type
Qualification
Type / Level
Number of students enrolled Number of equivalent full-time student units (EFTS)
20172018 % change20172018 % change
Certificates 1 14,400 14,885 3.4 5,505 5,850 6.2
Certificates 2 28,800 25,820 -10.4 12,095 10,505 -13.1
Certificates 3 57,390 57,525 0.2 25,705 25,565 -0.6
Certificates 4 62,795 57,160 -9.0 28,060 25,680 -8.5
Dips/certs 5-7 60,405 55,425 -8.2 32,380 29,960 -7.5
Bachelors degrees 145,730 145,145 -0.4 115,600 115,755 0.1
Graduate dips/certs 14,310 15,135 5.8 7,730 8,255 6.8
Honours 31,965 32,765 2.5 20,305 21,160 4.2
Masters degrees 19,095 20,755 8.7 11,450 12,540 9.5
Doctoral degrees 10,040 10,210 1.7 7,575 7,745 2.3
Total 404,745 396,220 -2.1 266,400 263,015 -1.3

Technical notes and definitions

Data sources – data relates to students enrolled at any time during the year with a tertiary education provider in formal qualifications of greater than 0.03 EFTS (more than one week's full-time duration). Data excludes all non-formal learning and on-job industry training. Data includes those private training establishments that received Student Achievement Component funding, and/or had students with student loans or allowances, and/or delivered Youth Guarantee programmes. Students are counted in each ethnic group they identify with. Totals also include those students with unknown values. Age has been calculated as at 31 December.

Equivalent full-time student (EFTS) – One equivalent full-time student (EFTS) unit is defined as the student workload that would normally be carried out in a single academic year (or a 12-month period) by a student enrolled full-time.

Participation rate – the total participation rate is the percentage of the population aged 15 years and over who were enrolled at any time during the year. Rates are only calculated for domestic students and those shown on this page have been standardised for age (crude participation rates are available in the full data tables ).

Rounding – data, including totals, has been rounded to the nearest 5 to protect the privacy of individuals, so the sum of individual counts may not add to the total.

Suppression – percentages have been suppressed where the denominator was less than 50. This is indicated by “s..” in the relevant table cell.

Statistical Tables

Provider-based Enrolments Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to students enrolled in tertiary education providers by a range of demographic and other characteristics.

Provider-based Equivalent Full-time Students Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to student enrolment in tertiary education providers in terms of equivalent full-time student units.

Participation Rates Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to the percentage of the New Zealand population enrolled in tertiary education.

Provider-based Enrolments: The field of study of the courses studied at tertiary education providers Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to the field of study of each of the courses a student is enrolled in at tertiary education providers by various student and study characteristics. For example you might use this data to know how many students are studying at least one course in Information Technology.

Provider-based Equivalent Full-time Students: Field of study of the courses studied at tertiary education providers Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to the number of equivalent full-time students (EFTS) at tertiary education providers by field of study and by various student and study characteristics. This data is collated at the course level. For example you might use this data to know the number of EFTS enrolled in Information technology courses.

Provider-based Enrolments: The predominant field of study of students at tertiary education providers Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to the predominant field(s) of study of students enrolled at tertiary education providers. This data looks at all the courses studied within a qualification to determine a student's predominant field(s) of study. For example, you might use this data to know how many students are specialising in Information technology.

Participation in Industry Training Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to trainees enrolled in workplace-based learning, including industry training and Apprenticeships.

Rates of progression to further study after graduating Updated: July 2019

Statistics about students who undertake further study after completing a tertiary qualification. Data is presented for detailed and grouped qualification levels and types, and for narrow and broad fields of study. Data is available in spreadsheets as filtered lists, or as comma delimited text files for uploading into business intelligence and analytics tools.

Files for business intelligence and analytics tools

Targeted Training Programmes Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to students enrolled in Training Opportunities, Youth Training and Skill Enhancement programmes.

Secondary-Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to school students participating in Secondary-Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) programmes.

Adult and Community Education Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to participation in non-formal learning, including Adult and Community Education.

Languages Updated: June 2019

Statistics relating to participation in language courses.

Contact Us

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