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Low Tuition in New Zealand: Cost of Studying at a University in New Zealand




    How much would it cost to study on low tuition in New Zealand? If you would like to  study in New Zealand, one of the most important things to look into is how much you’re going to spend on tuition. This article will explain the cost of every aspect of university life to ensure that you have no issues. 

    Have at the back of your mind that prices and exchange rates are correct as at the time of publication and might vary over time. 

    Tuition fees

    At present, there are eight main universities in New Zealand and they all have different tuition fees, which vary based on the subject and level of study. However the New Zealand government has confirmed plans to abolish tuition fees starting from 2018 for one year of study, increasing to three years of study from 2024. 

    As expected, most international students are expected to pay more than local students, although international students can be exempted from paying tuition in a few cases – for example when students are enrolled in an active PhD program.

    On average, an international student is expected to pay NZ$20,000 (£10,499) (note that all figures from now will be in New Zealand dollars) for an arts and social sciences first degree, $25,000 (£13,124) for science and engineering and $75,000 (£39,372) for a dentistry and medicine degree respectively.

    To provide context, at the University of Auckland, a typical international undergraduate student will pay $27,592 (£14,485) for majority of BA courses and up to $72,896 (£38,267) for medical degrees beyond the first year. Postgraduate courses at the University of Auckland are pegged between $32,392 (£17,004) and $46,787 (£24,561) per year.

    That said, an international student studying at the University of Auckland should budget $82,776 (£43,454) for a three-year bachelor’s program.

    For a local student, an undergraduate degree will be between $10,000 and $25,000 per year (£5,249-13,124), with postgraduate degrees pegged between $10,000 and $30,000 (£5,249-15,748).

    You can find the full list of tuition fees and a comparison of expenses on the Te Pōkai Tara site, which has all universities in New Zealand. In addition to tuition fees, some universities will charge administration and student services fees; for example the University of Otago charges students administrative fees of $798 (£419). 

    It doesn’t matter if its undergraduate or postgraduate level, students will have to prove that they have sufficient cash to support themselves, which is $1,250 (£656) per month for any program less than nine months, and $15,000 (£7,874) per year if the study program goes beyond that. This amount is surplus to the amount needed to cover your course fees and return airfare.

    Accommodation costs 

    There are tons of options for renting during a period of study in this beautiful country. You could choose to live in student residence halls ($200 or £105 per week, on average), a shared flat ($120/£63 per week) or a private flat ($180/£94 per week).

    The 2017 estimate for securing a room in a three-person apartment is $202 (£106) per week in Auckland, $127 (£67) in Hamilton, $170 (£89) in Wellington, $132 (£69) in Christchurch and $147 (£77) in Dunedin. Therefore in order to live in Auckland (the most expensive of the university cities), students should expect to spend $8,080 (£4,241) on rent annually (based on a 40-week contract) which would be about $24,240 (£12,725) across the entire three-year bachelor’s program.

    Other student costs

    A monthly phone bill in New Zealand is roughly $20 (£10) and an internet plan would go for $85 (£44) per month, split between the tenants of the flat, as well as $100 (£52) per month (per person) on expenses such as gas, electricity and water. Students should expect to spend $500 (£262) on books and other academic materials per year.

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    A typical one-way ticket on public transport would cost on average $3.50 (£1.84), with a monthly pass at around $152 (£80), although for students it will be a reduced rate of $120 (£63). One example is Auckland’s HOP Card. With student discounts, students should expect to spend up to $35 (£18) a week on transport, depending on which modes they choose to use.

    The healthcare system in New Zealand is pretty impressive and commendable – it will cost between $25 and $60 (£13-31) to see a doctor, and hospital costs catered for by the state, and prescriptions are $5.It is important to note that you must be covered by medical and travel insurance policies while studying in New Zealand, from the point at which you enrol until your visa expires. Health insurance is cheaper even for international students – to provide context, 12 months of health and travel insurance cover with StudentSafe (a popular choice with students) costs $590 (£310).


    Note that the average student’s weekly shop in New Zealand would costs $80 (£42) and a typical meal out in a restaurant is $18 (£9.45). A beer in an average bar is $8 (£4.20) and a glass of wine is $7 (£3.67).

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    A cinema ticket is $16 (£8.40) and a monthly gym membership would go for an average of $55.80 (£30). In 2017, a Big Mac cost $6.10 (£3.20). In Auckland, one of New Zealand’s largest urban area, an average dinner for two, a bottle of wine, two cinema tickets and a five-mile taxi ride home would go for $152 (£80).

    What financial support is available 

    Sadly, there are very few scholarships available for international students seeking to study in New Zealand.

    These scholarships are offered by the New Zealand government. You will find a search tool on the Education New Zealand website, with which you can use to search for a scholarship depending on your subject and study level.

    Regardless, full-time students are able to work up to 20 hours a week but it is important to check the terms on your visa, and the visa authorities may need to be contacted if you decide to work and study.It is interesting to note that the adult minimum wage in New Zealand is $13 (£6.30 per hour).

    A great way of obtaining student discounts is the $20 (£10.50) StudentCard, which gives more deals than any other card. You will find discounts on clothes, travel, food, drinks and entertainment. Air New Zealand also offers a student discount on air fares.We would really encourage you to give studying on low tuition in New Zealand a shot.  

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