New Zealand's international education sector worth NZ$2.6bn

October 02, 2013

International education is worth NZ$2.6 billion to the New Zealand economy and is the country' s fifth largest export industry, according to a new report released by Education New Zealand (ENZ).


Caption: The proportional value of international education in New Zealand by country. Source - Education New Zealand.


The report, The Economic Impact of International Education 2012/13, produced by Infometrics and the National Research Bureau for ENZ, said the value was a slight increase over the NZ$2.5 billion recorded in the previous 2007/08 survey.

Full fee-paying international students were worth NZ$2.3b, with the remained being made up from PhD students (paying the same fees as NZ students), other international students (with study not as a primary purpose) and offshore provision

“This is a very pleasing result which shows the value of international education increased by around NZ$100 million, or three per cent, compared with 2008,” said Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister, Steven Joyce. “This is despite a fall in international student enrolment in New Zealand over that period from the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes.

Total income from tuition fees in 2012 was NZ$743m, a 24 per cent increase over NZ$597m in 2007. The report noted that university tuition fees had increased by 31 per cent over that period, but the number of international students at universities had declined by 13 per cent. Predictably, the university sector accounted for the largest share of education output at NZ$901m (34.7 per cent), followed by the PTE sector on NZ$583m (22.5) and English language schools on NZ$343m (13.2).

China is the most significant market for New Zealand’s education exports and represented 26.6 per cent of all student enrolments, 32.8 per cent of tuition revenue and 32 per cent of expenditure. The top four countries (China, India, Korea and Japan) accounted for 60 per cent of tuition fee income and a similar amount of student spending.

Auckland increased its share as the largest area in New Zealand for overseas student expenditure, rising from 54 per cent in 2007 to 63.4 per cent in 2012. International education represented 2.1 per cent of GDP in Auckland, compared with 1.3 per cent across the country as a whole, and Auckland accounted for 57,958 students (61 per cent) out of a national 2012 total of 91,732.

The survey was conducted via an online questionnaire sent to every international student that the New Zealand Immigration Service could provide contact details for, with around 7,500 responses received.

Education New Zealand Chief Executive, Grant McPherson, welcomed the comprehensive picture of international education’s economic contribution, but said cultural impacts should not be forgotten. “As well as its economic benefits, international education strengthens New Zealand’s global connections. It helps tomorrow’s business partners, investors, politicians and leaders – both from New Zealand and overseas – to form enduring connections and build greater cultural understanding.”

In a separate development, Education New Zealand has released a PTE Sector Engagement Plan. The plan examines enrolment trends in the sector, student satisfaction, risks and opportunities for the sector and support available from ENZ.

At the time of writing, NZ$1 = US$0.82

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