The Private Training Establishment sector, which excludes English language schools, claims the biggest share of international students.
The income generated from tuition fees reached just over $1bn last year, an increase of $146m, or 17%, from 2014.
This growth has been steady following 17% increase in revenue the previous year.
“It is important that regional New Zealand shares fully in the growth of our international education sector”
“For a small exporting nation – where traditional reliance on primary products is being overtaken by the rise of people-driven services such as tourism and international education – this is a great achievement,” said Grant Macpherson, chief executive of Education New Zealand, in the report.
Despite the PTE sector accounting for the highest number of international student enrolments, most of the tuition fee revenue came from the university sector ($371.8m).
As in 2014, most of the enrolment growth in 2015 was felt by the PTE sector, which last year claimed 34% of the number of international student enrolments. The university sector claimed 21% of the enrolments.
The number of international student enrolments in New Zealand across all sectors reached 125,011 last year – a 13% increase on the year before. China accounted for the highest proportion, at 27%.
Combined with India, these two countries made up 50% of all international student enrolments. Japan was the third largest source market, accounting for 8% of enrolments.
India was also the source of much of the growth, as in 2014, with an increase of 45%, or 9,013 student enrolments, driven largely by the PTE sector.
The PTE sector also accounted for the largest growth from China, up by 1,429.
Korea was the fourth largest source market in 2015, representing just 6% of international student enrolments. This is down from five years ago, when the country was New Zealand’s second largest source market at 14%.
As in previous years, Auckland accounted for the highest number of international student enrolments, representing 63% of the total number. Enrolments also grew 15% for this region.
However, all of the regions in New Zealand experienced some degree of growth in international student enrolments overall.
“It is important that regional New Zealand shares fully in the growth of our international education sector and it’s great to see strong growth in many regions,” said Steven Joyce, tertiary education, skill and employment minister.
“Education New Zealand will continue to develop their new Regional Partnership Programme to promote the benefits of studying in each region.”
For a small exporting nation … this is a great achievement
Other recently released data from Education New Zealand found that applications for student visas to the country started to stabilise again in the year to May 2016, following a decline in the first quarter of the year.
However, there was a 5% decline in the number of first-time student visas in the same period, largely due to a significant decline from first-time student visas from India. The country displayed a decrease of 1,108, to 3,912 in the year to date.
“The decline in numbers from India reflects the new higher English language rules put in place in October last year and tighter enforcement of the rules by Immigration New Zealand,” said Joyce.
“Growth in numbers from China, Korea, Japan, Germany, Malaysia and Vietnam has largely offset the drop in numbers from India.”
International education is the country’s fifth largest export sector, and Education New Zealand is aiming to grow the value of international education to $5bn by 2025.