New Zealand’s eight universities say the readmission of foreign students is the best way to fix serious financial woes facing the tertiary sector.
The loss of overseas students has created a half billion dollar shortfall but the Government says our universities are well-placed to adapt.
Every campus across the country is feeling the full effect of Covid-19 as a big drop of students has caused turbulence across the sector.
Premier courses like aviation, once promising future job security, are now facing turbulent times.
“At the moment, indicators are extremely worrying - no doubt about that," says Massey Aviation School CEO Ashdok Poduval. "If I was a parent who was thinking about my own child I would obviously give it careful consideration."
All universities are now carefully considering how and where to cut costs.
“We’ll be able to get through this year but that won't leave us in a very good position for future year or years, particularly if international students are prevented from coming into the country,” says Derek McCormack of Universities New Zealand.
But the Government says tertiary institutions will have to adapt and can’t rely on the return of foreign students any time soon.
“They will need to think about, 'Where is the future student demand going to be?'" says Education Minister Chris Hipkins. "They'll probably have fewer international students in the near future, but they're also likely to see more domestic students.”
The Government says expected increases in unemployment are likely to see more Kiwis take up tertiary study and universities have time to adapt given they are currently in good financial shape.