Although not in the top 10 study abroad destinations, New Zealand still attracts many international students. According to UNESCO, New Zealand currently hosts 53,002 international students majority of whom come from China and India.
New Zealand’s tertiary education system is well-regarded internationally as it focuses on research-based teaching techniques. International students who get their degrees from a university in New Zealand will also be pleased to know that their degree will be recognized in 50 other countries because New Zealand is a signatory of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
English is an official language in New Zealand, and as such, all universities offer courses in English. While most universities ask for proof of English language proficiency, the GRE Test is not a requirement, so there are fewer barriers to entry into the higher education system of New Zealand.
One serious concern, though, is the high cost of living. New Zealand ranks high in terms of quality of living, but it comes with a higher cost. To reduce the burden of cost, consider studying at the universities in New Zealand with more affordable tuition fees enlisted below.
Cheap Universities in New Zealand
1. Southern Institute of Technology
- Annual Undergraduate Program Tuition Fee: 17,000 NZD
- Annual Graduate Program Tuition Fee: 24,000 NZD
Southern Institute of Technology is an affordable university in New Zealand which offers 200 programs from pre-degree to postgraduate level in various fields of study. It has several campuses in Invercargill, the southernmost and westernmost city in New Zealand.
SIT is famous for its Zero Fees Scheme under which New Zealand citizens and permanent residents only pay for the material costs of education such as uniforms and books. This scheme was initiated in the late 1990s to attract more students into Invercargill to boost its local economy.
To date, SIT has grown to a student body of 13,000 plus and has extended the Zero Fees Scheme to international students by offering free English or Foundation programs to international students enrolled in one-year or longer academic programs. SIT has also maintained low fees for international students by simplifying its fee structure to include just the tuition and resource fees.
2. Eastern Institute of Technology
- Annual Undergraduate Program Tuition Fee: 20,400 NZD – 25,200 NZD
- Annual Graduate Program Tuition Fee: 21,500 NZD – 24,700 NZD
The Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) is a public polytechnic institute with campuses in Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti (Gisborne), and Auckland. It also has regional learning centers located in Hastings, Maraenui, Ruatoria, Tokomaru Bay, Waipukurau, and Wairoa.
This affordable university in New Zealand delivers 130 programs at the certificate or diploma, master, postgraduate level through two faculties – the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Sciences and the Faculty of Commerce and Technology.
To cater to the demands of its locality, EIT offers unique programs such as Viticulture and Wine and Food Science. In addition, EIT designs its programs to increase students’ employability by providing work-integrated learning opportunities.
3. University of Waikato
- Annual Undergraduate ProgramTuition Fee: 25,915 NZD – 37,875 NZD
- Annual Graduate ProgramTuition Fee: 31,615 NZD – 56,260 NZD
Located in New Zealand’s North Island, the University of Waikato is home to 13,000 students. Its main campus is in Hamilton, an hour and a half drive away from Auckland. It also has a satellite campus in Tauranga.
Ranked 373 in the 2024/21 QS World Rankings, Waikato offers programs in Health, Engineering, Computer Science, Management, Maori and Indigenous Studies, Arts, Psychology, Social Sciences, and Education.
4. Massey University
- Annual Undergraduate Program Tuition Fee: 28,150 NZD – 31,140 NZD
- Annual Graduate Program Tuition Fee: 31,950 NZD – 42,100 NZD
Massey University is located in Palmerston North, New Zealand, and has campuses in Auckland and Wellington. Massey University offers flexible distance learning opportunities since a significant portion of its 30,000 students opted for distance learning. Hence, Massey offers a range of programs that are fully online.
In addition to being a pioneer in distance learning, Massey is the only university in New Zealand offering degrees in aviation and veterinary medicine. Massey University is the top university in agriculture in the 2024 QS rankings, and its Veterinary Science, Agriculture, and Forestry studies are ranked in the top 30 worldwide. Massey’s overall 2024/21 QS ranking is 272, which makes it even more alluring the international students.
5. Victoria University of Wellington
- Annual Undergraduate Program Tuition Fee: 29,400 NZD – 38,900 NZD
- Annual Graduate Program Tuition Fee: 31,450 NZD – 41,400 NZD
The Victory University of Wellington is a public university in New Zealand currently ranked 236 in the QS World University Rankings. The university has campuses located in Kelburn, Pipitea, and Te Aro.
VUW is well-known for its programs in law and humanities and science courses, but it still offers plenty of reputable degrees through its nine faculties: Science and Business, Engineering, Education, Law, Government, Architecture and Design Innovation, Humanities, Social Sciences, Health.
This affordable university in New Zealand has a student population of 21,000 students, 14% of which are international students. Students who are studying on-campus are required to pay a Student Services fee of 871 NZD on top of the tuition fees, and some programs may have additional fees associated with fieldwork and thesis fees.
6. University of Otago
- Annual Undergraduate Program Tuition Fee: 31,366 NZD – 102,087 NZD
- Annual Graduate Program Tuition Fee: 21,775 NZD – 71,589 NZD
The University of Otago is the first university established in New Zealand. It is ranked 184 in the 2024/21 QS World University Rankings and has a good reputation as a research-led University. Otago has more than 200 programs in the four divisions: Health Sciences, Sciences, Humanities, and Business. The majority of its 21,000 students study in the major campus in Dunedin, which is considered New Zealand’s university city.
International students of Otago pay international tuition fees rates which are four to five times the domestic rates. For instance, Ph.D. students are eligible to pay the domestic rates provided they secure a residency in New Zealand for the duration of their study.
Otago updates its tuition fees yearly, subject to a 5% increase ceiling for continuing students. Tuition fee rates vary across the four divisions. In addition to the tuition expenses, students are required to cover the costs of the student services and administration fees. Student services are calculated based on the credits and vary across campuses. The maximum student services fee at the Dunedin campus is 922.95 NZD per year.
7. University of Canterbury
- Annual Undergraduate Program Tuition Fee: 28,000 NZD – 44,000 NZD
- Annual Graduate Program Tuition Fee: 32,000 NZD – 79,000 NZD
New Zealand’s second-oldest university is the University of Canterbury. It has three campuses located in Christchurch. It also maintains satellite campuses and teaching centers in seven other locations.
The University of Canterbury is ranked 270 in the 2024/21 QS Rankings. It is best known for its engineering programs, although it offers a wide range of programs – 147 undergraduate majors and 61 graduate degrees. It has more than 18,000 students and almost 2,000 international students.