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Millions Wasted on Tertiary Education Marketing

28 June 2006

Millions Wasted on Tertiary Education Marketing

Research released today by the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) reveals the millions of student and public dollars wasted by public tertiary education institutions on ineffective mass marketing campaigns.

“Students are outraged that in 2005 public tertiary institutions wasted over $28 million on marketing and advertising campaigns that have proven to be useless in helping students make decisions about their tertiary education studies,” said Conor Roberts, Co-president of NZUSA.

“NZUSA received figures from AC Nielsen that reveals how much student and public money has been wasted on these campaigns. We found that expenditure on marketing has increased by 117% on the 1999 figure of $12 million, and up 6% on the 2004 figure ($26.6 million).”

19 public tertiary education institutions increased their marketing expenditure between 2004 and 2005.

“Tertiary institutions are spending increasing amounts of public and student money on advertising themselves and competing with each other, at the same time as they are raising student fees. The extra revenue gained from raising fees last year is close to $20 million meaning that wasteful marketing and advertising spending sprees are being funded through student fee hikes.”

“Research highlights that advertising and marketing campaigns actually have very little influence on student decision making. A Ministry of Education report in 2005 found that the most effective information is interpersonal, such as from parents, families, friends, teachers, career counsellors and tertiary staff, rather than mass information campaigns through newspaper, television, radio and gimmicks.”

NZUSA’s Income and Expenditure Survey revealed that only 6% of all students stated that their main source of choosing where to study was through advertising.

“NZUSA calls on the Government to get rid of the wasteful competitive market driven tertiary education system that has not delivered for students and instead has resulted in exorbitant amounts of money being squandered on these marketing campaigns. We need a much more cooperative model that uses public money wisely and delivers for students,” Mr Roberts concluded.

*The full report including a campus breakdown is available from


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