How much does it cost to study in New Zealand?

Thousands of international students attend New Zealand universities each year. Currently, the educational institutions in the country have a strong reputation. Many are well known for their modern study facilities and lower tuition fees compared to European and US colleges and universities. 

Today, the tuition fees in New Zealand range hugely as higher education institutions are both publicly and privately run. For instance, some bachelor’s degrees can cost an average of 22,000 NZD, whereas the more specialist postgraduate courses can cost around 75,000 NZD. However, the exact cost of your tuition fees will depend on where you study and what course you enroll in.

In addition, students looking to study in New Zealand will need to consider additional costs. These include living expenses, visas and airfares. Below, we provide a guide to the different tuition costs in New Zealand. Also, we look at some of the additional funding options that could be available to you if you are considering studying in the country. 

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees in New Zealand vary widely depending on various factors like location, course level and whether the institution is private or public. The New Zealand government has provided a general guide to average course costs on its official website. 

In the table below, we show the average cost ranges for tuition fees by academic level. The costs shown here represent the fee range for the 2022/23 academic year.

Course LevelFee Range
English Language Course5,100 NZD for a 12-week course
Diplomas and Certificates23,376 NZD to 46,752 NZD
Bachelor’s Degree20,000 NZD to 40,000 NZD
Postgraduate Degree20,000 NZD to 45,000 NZD
PhD6,500 NZD to 7,500 NZD per year

Generally, courses for more specialist subjects, such as medicine or engineering, have higher tuition fees. In comparison, degrees in the Arts and Social Sciences are lower in cost. 

But the exact cost will differ depending on the university you select. In New Zealand, institutions set their own course fees. Therefore, public colleges and universities charge less compared to privately run institutions.

Free Fees Initiative

In 2019, the New Zealand government introduced the Free Fees Initiative, which covers one to two years of course fees in higher education. 

Generally, the programme is only available for first-time learners with residency in New Zealand. However, the initiative is also open to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Students who have a permanent residency visa.
  • Students who have refugee or protected person status.
  • Students who have a family member have been granted a residency visa.

Also Read: Study a Bachelor’s in New Zealand


Furthermore, to support course fees and tuition costs in New Zealand, some universities offer different scholarships for international students. The national government also runs a range of scholarship options for native and overseas students. 

Overall, there are over 200 different scholarships available for students wanting to study in New Zealand. In addition, some universities offer grants and scholarships to students from specific countries.

But, the qualifying criteria for scholarships vary. For instance, some are available for students depending on income criteria, academic achievement, leadership qualities or disability. Before applying for a scholarship or grant, check the qualifying criteria and terms. 

Additional Fees

If you are looking to study in New Zealand and you have found the perfect course to suit your requirements, you can start to plan ahead. Part of the preparation is being aware of additional costs when studying abroad in New Zealand. 

In the sections below, we highlight some of the important costs to consider when studying in New Zealand. 

Living Costs

Living costs generally cover all your essential items and housing whilst you reside in another country. In New Zealand, the living costs will mostly cover the following areas:

  • Food
  • Travel
  • Accommodation
  • Utility bills (electricity, internet and gas)
  • Telephone plans
  • Clothes
  • Study Materials (books, stationary, specialist equipment)
  • Entertainment
  • Socialising
  • Medical costs

The amount you spend and pay for accommodation, travel, etc, will depend on where your university is based. For instance, if you live in a large city, like Auckland or Wellington, the costs are generally higher compared to a small town. 

According to the New Zealand government website, the cost of living if you attend Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Auckland can range between 20,000 NZD to 27,000 NZD per year. In comparison, living in Dunedin, where the University of Otago is based, can cost you around 8,000 NZD to 21,000 NZD per year in living expenses. 


To study in New Zealand, you must also pay for a student visa to gain legal entry into the country. When applying for your visa, you will need proof that you have 20,000 NZD available to pay for your living expenses whilst in the country.

In addition, you will have to pay for the cost of your visa application before you travel to New Zealand to start your course. But the exact cost of the visa will depend on your country of residence, the country of issue on your passport, the length of your stay and your type of visa. 

When applying for your visa, it is important to start the process early. Sometimes, visa applications can take up to three weeks or longer. It is necessary to have a visa before entering the country for education purposes. 


Another travel cost to consider when applying to study in New Zealand is the cost of airfares to get to and from your destination. 

Similar to a visa application, airfare costs will depend on your starting location and the city or town you are travelling to for study. But, the best option is to plan ahead and compare flight costs when you know the start date of your course. Then, you can hopefully save some money towards living costs and expenses. 

Funding your studies in New Zealand

If the living costs in New Zealand seem too high, you can find part-time work on some student visas. As part of the conditions on some visas, you can work up to 20 hours per week in term time. 

Furthermore, you might be able to work full-time during the holiday periods including Christmas, Easter and summer. Students completing a research master's or PhD can sometimes work full-time in their related fields. 

However, it is important to check your visa conditions before applying for work alongside your studies. Also, there are limitations to part-time work as you cannot work on a self-employed basis or run your own business. 


What is the study cost in New Zealand for international students?

International students wanting to study in New Zealand will generally have to pay tuition fees. These can vary from 5,100 NZD to 46,752 NZD depending on the course and the location. But, international students also have to pay for living costs, visas and airfares if they want to study in New Zealand. 

What is the cheapest university to study at in New Zealand?

Currently, the University of Auckland has some of the cheapest undergraduate courses available, with the cheapest starting at around 1,500 NZD in 2022. However, the overall cost increases when you factor in living costs and expenses. 

Can I study in New Zealand for free? 

Students from New Zealand and Australia have free fees initiative options. These programmes will cover one to two years of tuition fees if you meet the correct criteria. However, students still need to cover their own expenses. For international students, there are some scholarships available, but none offer completely free study options.