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Learn How International Students Study in New Zealand for Cheap

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New Zealand is well known for its sweeping and picturesque landscapes, but it’s also quickly growing into a popular destination for international students looking for affordable university tuition, internationally recognised accreditations, and high quality of life.

International students know that studying abroad can be expensive. To take advantage of New Zealand’s prestigious educational opportunities, check out this list of cost-saving tips and some of the cheapest universities in the country.

Average New Zealand University Tuition Costs

Tuition costs for universities in New Zealand vary depending on the institution and program you attend. Programs in fields such as humanities, arts, and education tend to be cheaper, but science, engineering, and medicine programs are more expensive.

According to Education New Zealand, tuition costs generally fall within the following ranges:

Compare Cost of Living

Living costs depend largely on your lifestyle and the region you live in. Wellington and Auckland generally have the highest costs across entertainment, food, transportation and other amenities and utilities, while cities such as Rotorua, Napier, and Whangarei are more affordable.

Keep in mind that although metropolitan areas are more expensive, they usually have better public transportation options, lower shipping costs for food and other supplies and better opportunities for jobs and salaries. Cities with low accommodation, utility, and food costs may cost more if you need a car to get around or need to travel out of the city for entertainment or work.

Work Part-Time

Many international students take on part-time work while in school to offset tuition and living costs. Student visas in New Zealand allow international students to work up to 20 hours per week during studies and full-time during semester breaks or holidays. Postgraduate and PhD students don’t have a limit on hours they may work and often work in their research fields. Other students often find jobs on campus, such as in libraries or administrative offices, or in service and hospitality roles off campus.

In addition to providing extra money, part-time jobs can help you expand your social circle and become more immersed in local culture. Before applying for jobs, however, consider how much time you’re able to commit to work while balancing studying and classes.


Many universities offer on-campus residence facilities to international students. Although some of these options can be affordable, spaces may be limited. If you’re only able to get a single occupancy room and have to pay for an obligatory meal plan, you might end up exceeding your budget.

A room in a shared house, studio or homestay can be cheaper accommodation alternatives. For comparison, sharing a house with roommates can cost as little as $140 per week, while staying in university residences with catering can cost as much as $484 per week.

University of Auckland

Ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide, the University of Auckland was founded in 1883 and has over 40,000 students. It’s home to 33 percent of the top-rated researchers in the country and is recognised as one of New Zealand’s premier research institutions. International students interested in undergraduate and postgraduate studies can pick from over 140 programs.

Tuition for international undergraduate students ranges from $35,249 to $84,442 per year, and postgraduate students can expect to pay from $38,272 to $84,331 per year. New international doctoral students pay $7,454 per year, the same as domestic students.

Lincoln University

Lincoln University is a relatively small university that’s ranked in the top 1.5 percent of universities worldwide. Prioritising a diverse and collaborative community, Lincoln University attracts many international students and offers specialised support to help students settle into their studies in a new country. Based on financial need, personal qualities, country of residence and program, Lincoln University offers many international scholarships to help students maximise their potential.

To be eligible for domestic tuition fees, you must either be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident or an Australian citizen studying in New Zealand. Depending on the program, annual international tuition fees start at:

Auckland University of Technology

Auckland University of Technology has delivered modern learning experiences to more than 110,000 alumni from around the world and is ranked among the top one percent of universities globally. In addition to degree courses and programs for various academic levels, AUT also provides online programs to international students who study from their home country.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students start at $31,344 per year, and master’s program fees start at $33,334. Onshore doctoral students may pay domestic fees as low as $7,079, and offshore tuition fees start at $40,834.

University of Canterbury

Located in Christchurch, the University of Canterbury aims to empower its students with quality education and holistic learning experiences to help them succeed and have a positive impact on the world. From foundation studies and English language courses to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, UC offers international students over 100 accreditations.

All international students, except for those enrolled in an approved reciprocal exchange program or onshore PhD program, must pay international fee rates. Undergraduate fees range from $28,800 to $45,000, and postgraduate fees start at $37,500.

Massey University

Once a small agricultural college in Palmerston North, Massey University has grown to become New Zealand’s largest residential university. The university offers broad study options from a combination of three campuses as well as online courses. Over 5,000 students from 100 countries study at Massey University each year to take advantage of its reputation for academic leadership and innovative research.

Undergraduate programs range from $28,150 to $69,300 per year. Master’s degree tuition starts at $49,000 per year, and doctoral programs start at $19,000 per year.

University of Waikato

Students from around the world attend the University of Waikato for its welcoming and innovative community and enjoy advantages such as small class sizes, affordable living, thousands of industry placements, internships, and international recognition.

Across its two campuses, the University of Waikato hosts more than 2,000 international students each year from over 80 countries. It also grants scholarships and tuition fee discounts to eligible students.

International tuition fees are:

University of Otago

Located in Dunedin, the University of Otago is ranked among the top one percent of universities in the world. It offers over 200 undergraduate and postgraduate programs with flexible study options, including online learning, and 95 percent of students go directly into work or further study following graduation. International students enjoy one of the top-ranked libraries in the world, a beautiful campus and world-class faculty and research opportunities.

Australian citizens and permanent residents pay domestic tuition fees, but all other international students are subject to international tuition rates. Fees start at $32,620 per year for undergraduate programs, $35,949 for master’s programs and $7,222 for PhD programs.

Victoria University of Wellington

Based in New Zealand’s capital city, the Victoria University of Wellington delivers leading research and innovative academic opportunities to international students. Wellington also ranks as one of the world’s most liveable cities, with a safe and diverse community.

Students can enrol in a range of programs and courses offered at one of the university’s several campuses or attend online if they prefer to study from their country of residence. Including those for international students, the Victoria University of Wellington awards more than $12 million in scholarships each year.

Tuition fees vary, with undergraduate programs starting at $31,050 and master’s programs at $32,900.