higher learning

The benefits of international students in New Zealand

by Ray Clancy on March 15, 2017

With numbers of international students applying to study in the United States due to visa concerns, New Zealand is set to continue to encourage more young people from abroad to move to the country for higher education.

New research has found that international students are contributing to New Zealand from an economic point of view but also in terms of business and communities as well.

The obvious benefit is that students spend money in the local economy and also pay tuition fees, thus benefitting the universities and colleges where they study, but the research shows that their presence promotes a deeper understanding of international outlooks and markets.

‘These findings help give us a more complete picture and gain a deeper understanding of the economic outcomes our regions are seeing due to the growth of international education, as well as where the opportunities lie,’ said Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith.

‘While the financial return of the international education sector is important, we are also seeing positive experiences and value for Kiwi learners, business and communities, thanks to the sector’s ability to link individuals, businesses, institutions and communities with international markets,’ he added.

International education is making an important contribution to economic development and GDP growth in our regions. The highest contribution in the new series of reports is attributed to Dunedin, at $117 million in 2015/2016.

The total economic value of New Zealand’s international education industry is put at $4.28 billion, making it the country’s fourth largest export industry but Goldsmith said that what is important is that the international education sector is also creating and supporting jobs across the regions, with the sector directly linked to the creation of 504 jobs in the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty area alone.

‘International education is a significant export industry for New Zealand, and it is important that we know whether the benefits delivered are worth the investment made by Government and our regions,’ Goldsmith added.

The regional reports were produced by Infometrics and the National Research Bureau (NRB) for Education New Zealand in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Statistics New Zealand, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Education New Zealand (ENZ) commissioned the research as part of its Regional Partnership Programme, designed to support the development of international education across New Zealand and ensure that smaller communities are also able to see the benefits of the sector.