Male enrolments at New Zealand polytechs have dropped 41 per cent in 10 years.
Just 8.6 per cent of adult New Zealanders enrolled in tertiary education last year - down from 12.5 per cent ten years ago.
In the past decade the number of domestic students has been falling because more jobs have been available and the number of school leavers has dropped.
But the latest figures show the downturn in enrolments has not happened evenly, with men's enrolments dropping faster than women's.
Education Ministry figures showed 8.6 per cent of people aged 15 and over enrolled in tertiary education last year, down from 12.5 per cent in 2009.
The percentage of New Zealand men who enrolled in tertiary education dropped from 11.3 per cent in 2009 to 7 per cent last year, while the rate for women fell from 13.6 per cent to 10 per cent.
Polytechnics have taken the brunt of the decline in men's participation. Enrolment halved from 5.5 per cent of men in 2009 to 2.8 per cent last year.
Total polytechnic enrolments for men fell 37,420 - or 41 per cent - in that time, while the number of women enrolling in polytechnics fell 29 per cent.
The percentage of the adult population enrolling in universities fell by 20 percent over 10 years from 4.6 to 3.7 per cent.
Māori had the highest enrolment rate of any ethnic group, at 15 per cent last year, while Pākehā New Zealanders had the lowest at 8 per cent.
Just over 36 per cent of 18 and 19-year-olds enrolled in tertiary education last year, the highest participation rate of any age group.