NZ surveys show agent usage and satisfaction

22 October, 2015

International student surveys from New Zealand’s university, institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITP) and secondary school sectors have highlighted the extent of agency usage, as well as client satisfaction with providers and agents.

Education New Zealand is tracking international students' satisfaction levels with their providers and agents. Credit - Shutterstock

Conducted by Education New Zealand in partnership with i-graduate, the 2015 International Student Barometers for the university and ITP sectors gathered 6,188 and 1,972 responses respectively, while the International Student Experience Survey for the school sector elicited replies from 2,162 students, all increases over the previous questionnaires in 2012/13.

Agency usage was highest in the secondary school sector, where 60 per cent of respondents said they had used the services of an agent; 55 per cent of ITP students and a quarter of university students had applied via an agent.

However, the university survey showed variation by student nationality and study level: 39 per cent of postgraduate students used an agent, and overall students from Cambodia (53 per cent), India (52), Russia (40) and Malaysia (38) were the most likely to have used agents.

Satisfaction was generally high among the students that had used an agent. In the university and ITP surveys, 87 per cent rated the service as either “good” or “very good”; while the secondary school satisfaction level was one per cent higher.

Particular points of service that students were satisfied with were knowledge about the institution (91 per cent in ITP), helpful services with visa applications (91 per cent in ITP, 88 per cent in university) and not being too pushy or forceful (91 per cent in university, 89 per cent in ITP).

Agents were the most commonly cited influence in the selection of institution, indicated by 59 per cent of students in the ITP and secondary school surveys, considerably ahead of institution website – the next most common factor on 31 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

Satisfaction with New Zealand as a study destination was similarly high in the surveys: 94 per cent of secondary, 90 per cent of university and 88 per cent of ITP students were satisfied with their school experience.

In all three surveys, the satisfaction with the learning experience measure increased slightly. Subject expertise of lecturers, virtual and physical library facilities and easy-to-understand English were particular points of satisfaction.

Students in the university sectors were less content with financial matters, such as the opportunity to earn money (53 per cent in university), cost of living (55 per cent) and cost of accommodation (54).

There was a stronger tendency for ITP students to intend to stay in New Zealand: 60 per cent in total. Long-term work was the aim for 22 per cent, 13 per cent intended to permanently migrate to New Zealand, 10 per cent expressed an interest in short-term work, and 15 per cent were planning further study in the country.

Forty-five per cent of university students said they intended to stay, while a quarter of secondary students wanted to stay – of these almost two-thirds were planning to progress to university. 

Education New Zealand, which recorded the highest international student enrolment rates for a decade in 2014, released the results of international student surveys in the language and private training establishment sectors earlier in the year.

Matthew Knott
News Editor


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