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Enrolments continue to rise at Victoria University

Victoria University looks set for a third year of record enrolment growth with student numbers for the first trimester of 2003 up more than 10 percent on the same time last year.

Indications are that Victoria will surpass its 2002 year-end record enrolments of 16,624, due to strong growth among mature, first-year, Mâori, Pacific and international students.

As of April 30 this year, the number of students at Victoria rose by 1,536 to 15,847, an increase of 10.7 percent on the same time last year. The increase was mirrored by a rise in the number of equivalent fulltime students (EFTS) by 969 or 8.3 percent to 12,598.

Victoria's enrolments show a 13.1 percent increase in the number of mature students (25 years and older) to 5,779, a 21.1 percent increase in first year students to 3,881, a 22.7 percent increase in Maori students to 1,293, an 18.4 percent in Pacific students to 610 and a 29.9 percent increase in international students to 1,777.

Big increases were recorded in disciplines as diverse as biological sciences, media studies, law, design, Mâori studies, accountancy and commercial law, and marketing.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said Victoria was increasingly seen as the learning destination of choice by a wide range of students both from Wellington and the lower North Island.

“Victoria is one of the few Universities showing consistent growth in domestic enrolments. We
continue to offer tailored programmes to suit the needs of a variety of students. The increase in the number of mature students reflects the availability of programmes that fit the needs of students who are working and want to be able to study part time.

"The growth in the number of first-year students shows the ongoing success of our secondary school liaison programme and is recognition that students choose Victoria as the place to gain a highly recognised degree or diploma."

Professor McCutcheon said the growth in the number of international students was part of a planned export education strategy undertaken by Victoria International, that was recently awarded a Trade New Zealand Export Award for the second year in a row.

"We're seeing continued strong growth out of China and the United States. New Zealand is now the new hot ticket for study abroad experiences for Northern European and US students. We are also seeing encouraging signs of growth from India, Japan and Korea."

While Victoria delivered degree programmes and short-term programmes to students from 75 countries, it took a very strategic approach to marketing, with the majority of its international student body coming from selected key countries.

“We actively market in only 13 countries. We are focused in the way in which we develop current and emerging markets, and plan very carefully entry into new markets. Our developed markets are China, Singapore and Malaysia, and our strong emerging markets are India, Korea and the USA.”

Professor McCutcheon said he was particularly pleased to see the increase in both Mâori and Pacific students.

"Victoria takes its Treaty of Waitangi obligations seriously. We've developed a successful mentoring scheme for first-year Mâori students in our Faculties to assist in the transition from school to university and we offer a series of awards and scholarships to recognise Mâori achievement and to help those with financial difficulties. A community co-ordinator also works closely with Mâori students in Wellington secondary schools to increase participation. Similar programmes are also in place to assist Pacific students."

Professor McCutcheon said while the figures for the year so far were very encouraging, Victoria continued to budget conservatively.

"While our enrolments usually get a further boost in July when the second trimester enrolments occur, there are several unknowns that could impact such as the impact of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the rising value of the New Zealand dollar."

Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
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