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Cost of living

New Zealand’s flexible education system has study options to suit every budget. The cost of living is similar to other OECD countries, and is teamed with an excellent work/life balance and a high quality of life.

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Fees

From postgraduate degrees to short-term English language courses, there’s a qualification to suit you. Tuition fees for international students vary depending on the type of course, where you study and how long you study for.

See a full list of indicative New Zealand university fees

  • School fees

    Annual fees for state schools start at about $11,000 for primary schools and $13,000 for secondary schools. Annual fees for private primary and secondary schools start at about $25,000.

  • Diplomas/Certificates

    Choose a course to suit your budget. For example, study for a two-year New Zealand Diploma in Engineering for $18,500 or a one-term Certificate in Computing for $12,425.

  • Bachelor’s degree

    Fees range from about $22,000 to $32,000, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science. Many bachelor’s degrees can be completed in three years.

  • Postgraduate degree

    Fees range from about $26,000 to $37,000, with higher fees for subjects such as medicine and veterinary science.

  • PhDs

    International PhD students pay the same as New Zealand PhD students, which is about $6,500 to $9,000 per year for most subjects.

  • English language courses

    Choose a course to suit your budget. For example, study a general English course for $300 per week, or a Cambridge English exam course for $5,100 for 12 weeks.

Cost of living

As part of your student visa application, you must provide evidence that you can cover your living expenses while studying in New Zealand. If you’re studying in New Zealand on a scholarship or a sponsor/family member has agreed to accept financial responsibility for you while you’re here, you may not be required to show proof of funds.

If you will be studying in New Zealand for more than one year, you‘ll need to prove that you have at least $15,000 to support yourself for the first year. If you’re studying for less than a year, you must have at least $1250 for each month of study to contribute to your living expenses.

Living costs will depend on your lifestyle and which part of the country you live in. Some costs vary by region. For example, you may need to travel more in the main centres, and transport costs may be more expensive than in your home country.

As an example of how much to budget for, Victoria University recommends that students allow between $18,000-$27,000 each year, the University of Auckland recommends $20,000-$25,000, the University of Otago recommends $15,000-$17,000 and Massey University recommends $15,000-$18,000.

You may be able to offset some of your costs by working. Most student visas enable you to work up to 20 hours per week, or full-time in the holidays. See our section Working while you study for more details.

Check out our blog for more ideas on saving costs while you study in New Zealand.

Typical living costs

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Accommodation

Choose from halls of residence, home stays or flats. Accommodation costs vary widely by region: the national median weekly rent for a three to four-bedroom house in October 2016 was $440, or $510 in Auckland.

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Food

The University of Otago’s estimated weekly food costs for a basic healthy diet for an adult man in 2016 were: Auckland $64, Wellington $64, Christchurch $63, and Dunedin $65. Prices vary depending on where you choose to shop.

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Transport

All New Zealand cities and most towns have buses, and some areas offer cheaper bus fares for students. Auckland and Wellington have train services to outer suburbs. Fuel prices are monitored by Petrolwatch.

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Entertainment

Explore New Zealand’s stunning beaches, mountains, forests and lakes for free. Other free or cheap entertainment options include live music, festivals, outdoor movies, parks, gardens, museums and galleries. Many tertiary education institutions offer discount cards for students.

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Power

Most people have a choice of four to nine energy retailers, each with many different plans to choose from. Consumer Powerswitch lets you find and compare the best gas and electricity options in your area.

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Phone and internet

Choose from monthly account plans or pre-paid plans for mobile phones. A pre-paid plan that includes calling, texting and data starts at about $19. Free Wi-Fi is available in central Auckland, Wellington, Rotorua and Dunedin.

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