Tertiary education is important to New Zealanders’ personal development and economic well-being. Young people, their whānau, adults looking to retrain or learn a new skill, and employers all rely on the quality and stability of tertiary education providers. Tertiary education is also important to New Zealand’s economy and is a significant area of public expenditure, with about $3 billion each year invested in about 650 tertiary training providers.
This report sets out our observations from our audits of the 27 public tertiary education institutions (TEIs). They consist of eight universities, 16 institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), and three wānanga. There were 405,000 people, including 56,000 international students, enrolled at these institutions in 2017.
- All TEIs are operating in an increasingly challenging environment.
- Domestic student enrolments rise and fall relative to unemployment rates – enrolments go down when unemployment rates go down. About 7000 fewer full-time domestic students enrolled at TEIs in 2017 compared to 2016. The Tertiary Education Commission's analysis shows the number of domestic students enrolling at TEIs has fallen by a third in the last 10 years.
- The demographics and number of international students are changing, and there is increased domestic and global competition for international students. The Government also expects that its 2018 changes to post-study work visa entitlements might mean fewer international students applying to study some diploma or certificate-level courses in New Zealand.