Young foreign students looking for somewhere to study are mostly giving New Zealand a miss, a new survey has found.

The global survey of 77,000 would-be international students by Melbourne-based QS Enrolment Solutions has found that the 5263 students enquiring about NZ universities were significantly older then average.

Only 25 per cent of those interested in New Zealand were under age 24, compared with 50 per cent of those enquiring about Australia.

Indian student Divya Kataria, the AUT Students’ Association’s international officer, says a major reason is that New Zealand charges undergraduates full-cost fees of about $33,000 a year but lets doctoral students study at the same price as domestic students – about $7000 a year.

“The two big factors are the fees and the cost of living in Auckland and the big Australian cities like Sydney and Melbourne,” she said.

Kataria herself is only 22 and studied in Lithuania before coming to New Zealand. She said most continental European countries charged overseas students only about €3000, or about NZ$6000.

She then tried to get into an Italian polytechnic to study architecture but the entrance exam was in Italian, so she looked for an English-speaking country. She ended up doing construction engineering at AUT.

“I applied to NZ and Australian universities and chose AUT because of their reputation and their ranking,” she said.

“As international officer, most of the students I deal with are over 25. Some people are actually 30 or 35. They come for their second PhD or their second masters.”

The QS survey relied on people enquiring to study overseas being referred to the survey website by the institutions they enquired to. It was heavily weighted to Australian institutions, which referred 36,912 of the 77,000 students in the sample.

NZ Herald

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