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New Zealand now less competitive for foreign university students

Aug 17: New Zealand's exchange rate has pushed the cost of studying at this country's universities up to the same level as Australia and higher than Canada.

A study by Deloitte, prepared for an international education conference in Christchurch last week, has found New Zealand secondary schools are still cheaper than schools in the other four traditional English-speaking countries.

Doctorates have also become far cheaper in this country since a policy change in 2005 which allows overseas doctoral students to pay the same fees as domestic students if they are supervised by leading researchers - a move designed to lift New Zealand research.

The number of overseas doctoral students has jumped by 56 per cent as a result, from 693 in 2005 to 1084 last year.

Average student living costs also remain lower in New Zealand, at just under US$9000 ($13,000) a year, compared with just over US$11,000 a year in Australia and Canada, US$12,400 in the United States and US$20,000 in Britain. This means that the total cost of living and studying in New Zealand is still the lowest of the five countries for bachelor's degrees in arts and business.

But tuition fees alone are now lower in Australia for engineering and medicine, and lower in Canada in all five main faculties.

Even allowing for New Zealand's lower cost of living, the total cost of living and studying is now lower in Australia for medical students and lower in Canada for first degrees in medicine, science and engineering.

Sarah Li, 24, the manager of New Zealand's largest Chinese-language website, Skykiwi.com, said New Zealand tuition fees were now too expensive for the eight to 12 hours of tuition that fulltime students get each week.

"If the dollar is not much different, why not go to America?" she asked.

On a recent visit to Australia, she found living costs were lower in Brisbane, although higher in Sydney and Melbourne, which were the cities used in the Deloitte study.

"Although I felt Australians were not as friendly as New Zealanders, I found my friends there have much more choice," she said.

"They have more universities than New Zealand and are treated nicer by tutors, and the tuition fees are lower."

Deloitte confirms that New Zealand's international education sector has lost ground against the other four countries in its study since the New Zealand dollar started rising above US42c in early 2002. The study was done when the dollar was at US72c.

The number of international students here peaked at 127,000 in 2002 and dropped to 93,000 last year. Numbers from China plunged from 66,000 in 2003 to 32,000 last year.

In contrast, international student numbers in Australia have grown by 6 per cent and 11 per cent in the past two years to 384,000 last year, including continued growth from China, India and Korea.

Enrolments in Canada have been more erratic, with between 150,000 and 200,000 international students last year. Tertiary overseas students in Britain rose by 3.5 per cent last year to 330,000.

The New Zealend Herald


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"Good comparison."
Name: Shabnam shaikh
Email: shabnum_shaikh@hotmail.com
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