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International education worth $4.28b

A new report shows the economic value of New Zealand’s international education industry rose to $4.28 billion last year.

11 November 2016


The Government says this is a 50% increase from $2.85b when the sector was last formally measured in 2014,  and places international education as New Zealand’s fourth largest export industry, overtaking wood at $3.82b.

The 2015 economic value is made up of $4.04 billion from international students studying in New Zealand, and $242 million from services delivered offshore. 

The $4.04 billion figure was released on 8 November in a report commissioned by Education New Zealand from Infometrics and the National Research Bureau, which also showed the industry supported 32,000 jobs in 2015.

“While economic value is obviously important, international education brings much wider benefits to our institutions, our communities and our country. International students add a rich diversity to our learning institutions, and help to connect New Zealand to the world," says Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce.

The Infometrics-NRB report shows that the increase in economic value was driven by growth in the number of students, and those students spending more on tuition fees and living costs. The top four source countries – China, India, Korea and Japan – accounted for two thirds of the value-add.

The Government is currently consulting with industry representatives on a revised International Education Strategy for New Zealand. The new strategy will seek to underpin the quality of the student experience and to realise the full social, cultural and economic value for New Zealand.

 Total student numbers (including full fee-paying students, exchange students, PhD students and foreign research postgraduate students) increased 25% from the 2012 enrolments with all sectors showing an increase.

The international education sector grew in all regions between 2012 and 2015. The largest value by region was Auckland, which experienced a 55% increase between 2012 and 2015. Canterbury grew 71% in the same period, Waikato grew 45%, and the category ‘other South Island’ (which excludes Canterbury and Otago) grew 152%.

“The significant increase in value in recent years shows that we are well on our way to achieving the Government’s key growth goals for international education,” says Mr Joyce.

The Government announced a target in 2010 to lift the economic value of international education to $5 billion by 2025.