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Fees-free not wasted with new course comparison site

"Fees-free not wasted with new course comparison site"

A website, 2 years in the making, by two former students is making it easier for school-leavers to choose what tertiary course is right for them.

Michael Watson and Jarrod Mosen are changing the way New Zealand students search for tertiary study courses with their free course comparison website, StudySpy. The website displays all of New Zealand’s 8,977 courses from 373 NZQA approved education providers.

“Our original idea was to develop an online agency for international students looking at course options in New Zealand,” says Michael, who took the concept through Victoria University’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in 2015/2016.

“The majority of New Zealand’s international students come here via agents,” he says. “We wanted to devise a way for those students to make more independent decisions, based on all of the options available to them, not just those recommended by commission-based agents.”

However, after launching their prototype site, Michael says they were surprised to find that 69 percent of their traffic came from New Zealand students. They quickly moved to reformulate their plan, which happened to coincide with the Government’s announcement of Fees Free study beginning in 2018.

“We were so focused on making the study experience better for international students who were yet to step foot in New Zealand, that we didn’t realise how useful transparent information on study is to domestic students too,” says Michael. “I would have definitely used a site like this when considering my study options.”

Recent graduate, Sam Prime, claims that having transparent information available during the enrolment process could have saved him at least a year of paying fees for a degree that wasn’t right for him, “Having so many options available can be quite overwhelming when you’re fresh out of high school and unsure what to do, StudySpy can help guide you through the process and show you all the options available to you.”

The website not only displays all of New Zealand's courses and NZQA-approved education providers, it also includes additional information that enables students to explore the likelihood of employment and median earnings from a particular course of study.

Michael says the web/app will also appeal to learning institutions who can easily maintain their information. “We’ve put a lot of work into building a website dashboard that gives education providers control of their own data—they can update details as soon as their courses or prices change, and basically create an easily-updatable online prospectus to prosper New Zealand students.”

Dave Cameron, former teacher, CEO and Founder of LearnCoach - New Zealand’s largest tutorial provider, says that “Young people spend years in an education system with no clear picture of what lays ahead. At the same time, study institutes and employers are struggling to recruit quality students. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. As a classroom teacher, the most commonly asked question by students is when will I ever use this in real life? The industry needs transparency and students need to know their options. This is where StudySpy shines.”

StudySpy is now live at where students can now compare and enquire to their favourite courses.

Michael and Jarrod will be holding a launch event on Friday 23rd February at the BizDojo (115 Tory Street, Wellington) beginning 5.30pm. Key stakeholders from across the education and tech/startup community will be in attendance. For more details on attending the event please visit StudySpy’s Facebook page for the event.

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