Domestic Enrolments Increase at Three NZ Universities Despite Loss of Int’l Students

Three universities in New Zealand – Canterbury, Victoria, and Otago, have reported their enrolment figures, announcing that they will begin the year with almost 1,000 more students compared to last year.

Yet, these universities have also stressed that the net increase will not change anything regarding the financial impact of losing hundreds of international students as their fees are worth twice as much of what universities gain for every local student in fees and government funding.

Due to the loss of international students’ fees, eight universities have decided to dismiss around 700 permanent staff as well as to reduce hundreds of casual and short-term tutoring and contract lecturing positions. Out of these eight universities, five have not reported their enrolment data yet.

An increase of nine percent has been marked at the Victoria University of Wellington as a total of 1,350 domestic full-time equivalent students have been reported as enrolled, which is also one of the largest increases over the recent years.

“In contrast, our international EFTS was 470 below this time last year but approximately 150 EFTS better than forecast,” the university noted.

The University of Canterbury reported a total of 1,584 or a 13 percent rise of full-time domestic students. The same noted it had 668 or 44 percent fewer international students.

The university’s vice-chancellor Cheryl de la Rey said there are low chances that the net increase could balance the lack of international students paying full fees.

“We are reducing costs where possible, but this will not impact on personnel costs or course delivery at this time,” the vice-chancellor said.

Moreover, the University of Otago reported an increase of 5.4 percent or 952 full-time enrolments over the past year during the same period of time.

In a release, the university noted that a 1,341 EFTS (equivalent full-time students) increase in domestic student enrolments has shown to be more than enough to offset a drop of 389 EFTS in international full-fee enrolments.

University’s vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne said that the increase in the number of domestic enrollments has been higher than ever before in the recent economic downturn periods, highlighting the “Global Financial Crisis”.

Hayne emphasized that the rise in domestic enrolments was not expected to be this high.

According to her, such an increase should reduce to some extent the financial pressure on the university. Earlier, the latter had calculated a $13 million deficit for 2021.

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