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Tertiary education participation increasing

10 December 2003 Media Statement

Tertiary education participation continues to increase – report

Participation in tertiary education rose by 11% in 2002 according to the annual report on the tertiary education sector, released today.

New Zealand's Tertiary Education Sector: Profile & Trends 2002, published by the Ministry of Education, reveals a sector that is responding well to many of the challenges it faces. Growth in student numbers between 1997 and 2002 amounted to nearly 30%. Latest figures show further growth in 2003 and projections of increasing participation over the next few years.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said tertiary education plays a fundamental role in providing the skills New Zealand needs to help create a knowledge economy and society.

“Total government funding of tertiary education grew by 8% in 2002/03. The government is now spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on tertiary education – up from 1.7 percent in 1999. Including the full cost of student loans, government spending on tertiary education is more than $3,500 million.

“The report also reveals that the rate of Maori participation in tertiary education has grown and now exceeds that of non-Maori. It will be important to build on these gains, by increasing Maori participation at all levels of the sector and in the 18-24 age group where they are currently under-represented.

“The tertiary education reforms are intended to build on this performance and to align the sector more closely with national goals. The response of individual
the reforms will be a key challenge for the sector in 2004,” Steve Maharey said.

Key Trends: Tertiary Education Sector: Profile & Trends 2002

- Participation in tertiary education has continued to rise, with the number of formally enrolled students rising by 11% in 2002. Enrolments have increased by nearly 30% since 1997.
- In July 2002, 319,886 students were formally enrolled in tertiary education. It is estimated that over 425,000 learners studied in some form of tertiary education in 2002 as a whole.
- In December 2002, 83,456 trainees were registered with Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), an increase of 26% on the 66,225 ITO registered trainees as at 1 January 2002.
- In addition, nearly 33,000 students were involved in transition programmes, such as the Youth Training, Training Opportunities, and Skill Enhancement programmes.
- More than one in ten of the population aged 15 and over (10.5%) were enrolled in tertiary education on 31 July 2002, the highest level in New Zealand’s history.
- Women constituted 58% of all enrolments in tertiary education on 31 July 2002.
- Maori participation in tertiary education is significantly higher than non-Maori. The challenge is to build on that achievement by lifting the proportion of Maori studying at higher levels in tertiary education and by raising participation among 18 – 24 year olds where Maori are currently less-well represented.
- Pasifika students comprise just under 5% of enrolments. While the actual number of Pasifika students in TEIs increased between 2001 and 2002, the proportion relative to total enrolments has not changed significantly. The increase of 4,365 Pasifika students (44%) since 1997 is half that of Mäori (89.5%) in relative terms and twice that of non-Pasifika students (21.9%).
- International student numbers rose again in 2002 by 52%, following a rise of 51% in 2001. International students formed 8.4% of all tertiary students in July 2002, up from 2.2% at 31 July 1994.

Funding of and Financial Performance in Tertiary Education
- The government’s budget for tertiary education increased by an estimated 8% in 2002/03 to more than $3,500 million . Average per student funding delivered through the EFTS-based tuition subsidy scheme increased by 1.2% between 2001 and 2002 . Government spending on tertiary education was estimated to be 2% of GDP in the 2002/03 financial year, compared with 1.7% in 1999/2000.
- The average tuition fee per EFTS dropped by 14 percent between 2000-2002. This trend reflects the fee stabilisation policy implemented in 2001 and the move to zero fees in some providers.
- Public tertiary education institutions (TEIs) have improved their financial performance on a range of measures. 6 TEIs reported a net operating deficit in 2002, compared with 10 in 2001 and 13 in 2000.

Financial Support for Students
- In 2002, 150,575 students borrowed through the Student Loan Scheme compared to 148,174 in 2001 – a rise of 1.6%. The student loan uptake rate in 2002 was 57%, up from 56% in 2001.
- During the 2001/02 income year, 243,146 borrowers received a total interest write-off of $168.5 million.
- In 2002, 68,486 full-time students received student allowances, down by 2.5% from 70,219 in 2001. Government spending on student allowances in 2002 was $355.1 million.

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