The announcement follows a pilot programme last year that saw 1,000 students from 615 US universities apply to win the US$15,000 scholarship. According to Education New Zealand, July year-to-date first time US student visa figures are up 23%, signalling the programme’s contribution to its efforts to increase its study destination profile.
“I think it’s fair to say the campaign had a huge impact on the increase,” said Go Overseas CEO Mitch Gordon.
“The whole idea is to reach students who wouldn’t normally be thinking about studying abroad”
“Our hypothesis was that even if a student didn’t get the scholarship they would go to New Zealand anyway because they became interested through the four short essays they had to write and thinking creatively about a photo. The numbers ended up bearing that out.”
Encouraging study abroad among American students, especially non-traditional groups, is also part of the scheme’s mission.
“We offer a full scholarship not based on academic merit. The whole idea is to reach students who wouldn’t normally be thinking about studying abroad, finding a way to engage them, inspire them and getting them to go,” said Gordon.
Amy Rutherford, international market manager, North America at ENZ said the government is looking forward to extending the partnership with Go Overseas.
“Their genuine love of both New Zealand and studying abroad, their innovative ideas, and the enthusiasm with which they embrace all that New Zealand has to offer is energising,” she added.
The scholarship includes flights to New Zealand provided by STA Travel, a full semester’s tuition at a New Zealand university, institute of technology or polytechnic and an accommodation stipend.
Students apply by submitting a short essay explaining why they want to study in New Zealand and uploading a creative photo. This year’s campaign begins on September 1 and will run for six weeks.
Last year’s winner was Emma Faucher who completed her semester at Victoria University of Wellington in June.
International student enrolments rose 13% in 2014 in New Zealand, driven mostly by demand for sub-degree programmes which include certificates and diplomas. Students numbers from India showed the most significant growth overall, up 67% to 8,135, followed by China, the Philippines and Thailand.