Tertiary 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 and equivalent full-time students (EFTS) at universities, institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), wānanga and government-funded private training establishments (PTEs). The data covers domestic and international students that were enrolled during the 12 months to the end of December 2019. Information on 2019 participation rates will be added once 2019 population estimates become available from Statistics New Zealand.

Provider-based enrolments

What does the 2019 data show?

  • The overall number of students enrolled in formal study at tertiary providers decreased by 2.0 percent (7,970), from 396,700 in 2018 to 388,730 in 2019.
  • Domestic student numbers decreased by 2.2 percent (7,545), from 335,620 to 328,075. This continues a downward trend that started in 2009. International student numbers also decreased slightly by 0.7 percent (425), from 61,080 to 60,655.
  • The only ethnic group with an increase in domestic enrolments between 2018 and 2019 was Asian with an increase of 1.7 percent (865), while enrolments for Pacific Peoples were steady (70 additional students). Enrolments for the other major groups both fell (Māori by 2.8 percent and European by 2.4 percent).
  • Student numbers decreased overall at ITPs by 4.6 percent (6,135), at wānanga by 6.0 percent (2,265) and at PTEs by 4.9 percent (3,005), but increased overall at universities by 1.5 percent (2,665).
  • Decreases in the total study load, measured in EFTS (equivalent full-time student units), mirror the downward pattern in student numbers.

Total student numbers

The overall number of students enrolled in formal study at tertiary education providers in 2019 decreased by 2.0 percent (7,970), from 396,700 in 2018 to 388,730 in 2019. Domestic student numbers decreased by 2.2 percent (7,545), from 335,620 to 328,075. This continues a downward trend that started in 2009. International student numbers decreased by 0.7 percent (425), from 61,080 to 60,655.

Table 1: Comparison of total 2018 and 2019 domestic and international student enrolments and EFTS
  Number of students enrolled Number of EFTS
20182019 %
change
20182019 %
change
Total 396,700 388,730 -2.0 263,250 258,765 -1.7
Domestic 335,620 328,075 -2.2 220,265 215,675 -2.1
Female 198,965 197,970 -0.5 131,450 130,050 -1.1
Male 136,655 129,810 -5.0 88,815 85,410 -3.8
International 61,080 60,655 -0.7 42,985 43,090 0.2

Figure 1: Domestic student enrolments and EFTS 2010-2019, and participation rates 2010-2018

Bar Graph

Participation by ethnicity

Table 2 compares domestic enrolments, EFTS and participation rates for the main ethnic groups for 2018 and 2019. Enrolments for Asian students continued to increase in 2019 (by 1.7 percent) 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. Enrolments for Pacific Peoples were steady (70 additional students). Enrolments for the other major groups both fell (Māori by 2.8 percent and European by 2.4 percent).

Enrolment changes were reflected in EFTS numbers, with an increase for Asian students (by 1.8 percent) and decreases for other groups in line with decreases in enrolments.

Table 2: Comparison of 2018 and 2019 domestic student enrolments and EFTS by ethnicity
Ethnicity Number of students enrolled Number of EFTS
20182019 %
change
20182019 %
change
European 209,140 204,095 -2.4 135,320 132,825 -1.8
Māori 75,615 73,490 -2.8 48,955 47,355 -3.3
Pacific Peoples 32,445 32,515 0.2 21,930 21,735 -0.9
Asian 50,100 50,965 1.7 35,850 36,485 1.8
Other 16,495 16,410 -0.5 10,685 10,565 -1.1
Total 335,620 328,075 -2.2 220,265 215,675 -2.1


Participation by subsector

Most subsectors showed a decrease in student enrolments in 2019. Student numbers decreased overall at ITPs by 4.6 percent (6,135), from 133,450 to 127,315. The decrease at wānanga was 6.0 percent (2,265), from 37,700 to 35,435, with a similar decrease at PTEs by 4.9 percent (3,005), from 60,850 to 57,845. Consistent with 2018, the exception was universities which had an increase in enrolments of 1.5 percent (2,665), from 175,240 to 177,905 (see Table 3).

The largest decreases in domestic enrolments were at wānanga – whose student body is almost wholly domestic – (by 6.0 percent, or 2,265 students) and ITPs (4.7 percent, or 5,405). For international enrolments the largest decrease was for PTEs (17.3 percent, or 2,200) followed by ITPs (4.2 percent, or 730). These decreases were nearly balanced by an increase in international enrolments at universities (by 7.5 percent, or 2,355).

Table 3: Comparison of 2018 and 2019 domestic and international student enrolments and EFTS by subsector
 Subsector Number of students enrolled Number of EFTS
20182019 %
change
20182019 %
change
Domestic Universities 143,695 144,010 0.2 111,760 112,320 0.5
Institutes of technology and polytechnics 116,015 110,610 -4.7 57,135 53,930 -5.6
Wānanga 37,675 35,410 -6.0 23,475 21,810 -7.1
All public providers 291,840 284,970 -2.4 192,370 188,060 -2.2
Private training establishments 48,150 47,345 -1.7 27,900 27,615 -1.0
Total 335,620 328,075 -2.2 220,265 215,675 -2.1
International Universities 31,545 33,900 7.5 23,955 25,870 8.0
Institutes of technology and polytechnics 17,435 16,705 -4.2 11,390 10,565 -7.2
Wānanga 25 25 0.0 15 15 0.0
All public providers 48,820 50,460 3.4 35,365 36,450 3.1
Private training establishments 12,695 10,495 -17.3 7,620 6,640 -12.9
Total 61,080 60,655 -0.7 42,985 43,090 0.2
Total Universities 175,240 177,905 1.5 135,710 138,190 1.8
Institutes of technology and polytechnics 133,450 127,315 -4.6 68,530 64,495 -5.9
Wānanga 37,700 35,435 -6.0 23,490 21,825 -7.1
All public providers 340,660 335,430 -1.5 227,730 224,510 -1.4
Private training establishments 60,850 57,845 -4.9 35,520 34,255 -3.6
Total 396,700 388,730 -2.0 263,250 258,765 -1.7

Participation by qualification level/type

Enrolments in Level 1-7 diploma or certificate level qualifications decreased in 2019. The biggest percentage decrease was for Level 1 certificates (-13.1 percent, or 1,980 students) followed by Level 2 certificates (-11.1 percent, or 2,880 students) and then Level 5-7 certificates and diplomas (-9.9 percent, or 5,505 students). Enrolments in bachelors degrees were relatively stable, increasing by under 1 percent (495 students), and have been above 145,000 since 2016. There was a slight decrease in enrolments for graduate certificates and diplomas (by 0.5 percent, or 80 students), a larger decrease for honours degrees (-2.2 percent, or 735 students). Remaining qualifications showed increases, by 8.9 percent for masters (1,850 students) and 1.8 percent for doctorates (185 students).

Table 4: Comparison of 2018 and 2019 domestic and international student enrolments     and EFTS by qualification level/type
Qualification Level | Type Number of students enrolled Number of EFTS
20182019 %
change
20182019 %
change
Certificates 1 15,085 13,105 -13.1 5,950 5,155 -13.4
Certificates 2 25,865 22,985 -11.1 10,440 9,260 -11.3
Certificates 3 57,805 55,185 -4.5 25,575 24,190 -5.4
Certificates 4 57,145 56,750 -0.7 25,670 24,895 -3.0
Diplomas | Certificates 5-7 55,550 50,045 -9.9 30,060 27,425 -8.8
Bachelors Degrees 145,185 145,680 0.3 115,820 117,005 1.0
Graduate Diplomas | Certificates 15,155 15,075 -0.5 8,290 7,910 -4.6
Honours 32,750 32,015 -2.2 21,155 21,170 0.1
Masters degrees 20,760 22,610 8.9 12,540 13,880 10.7
Doctoral degrees 10,210 10,395 1.8 7,745 7,875 1.7
Total 396,700 388,730 -2.0 263,250 258,765 -1.7

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). Participation rates for the 2019 year will be added once 2019 population estimates become available from Statistics New Zealand.

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.

Statistical Tables

Provider-based enrolments Updated: Aug-2020

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

Provider-based equivalent full-time students Updated: Jun-2020

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

Participation rates Updated: Jun-2020

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

Provider-based enrolments: field of study
of the courses studied at tertiary education providers Updated: Jun-2020

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: Jun-2020

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: predominant field
of study of students at tertiary education providers Updated: Jun-2020

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: Jun-2020

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

Rates of progression to further study after graduating Updated: Jun-2020

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.

MS Excel Graduate Progression Rates: Broad levels[MS Excel Binary Worksheet 2.1mB]

MS Excel Graduate Progression Rates: Broad levels Narrow FOS[MS Excel Binary Worksheet 17.8mB]

MS Excel Graduate Progression Rates: Detailed levels [MS Excel Binary Worksheet 5.3mB]

Targeted training programmes Updated: Jun-2019

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

Secondary-Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) Updated: Jun-2020

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

Adult and community education Updated: Jul-2020

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

Languages Updated: Jul-2020

Statistics relating to participation in language courses.