15 Cheapest Universities in New Zealand for International Students

In New Zealand, there are a lot of affordable universities that you can find. Enrolling in these schools will help you fulfill your dream of studying in New Zealand without paying a lot. These institutions also provide well-rounded academic programs and curriculums, allowing students to earn a degree with less burden on their pockets.

Now, if you’re planning to study in New Zealand, you’ll have a lot of school options, as they are home to 25 universities. But if you’re looking for cheap universities in New Zealand, make sure to read more!

Cheap Bachelor's Colleges and Universities in New Zealand for International Students

Here is the list of affordable institutions in New Zealand ordered by their tuition fee for international bachelor's students.

University Annual Bachelor’s International Tuition % Cheaper than Average*
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology 6,300 NZD - 7,536 NZD 74%
Southern Institute of Technology 17,400 NZD 28%
Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki 18,000 NZD - 22,000 NZD 25%
Auckland Institute of Studies 18,600 NZD 23%
NorthTec 19,800 NZD - 23,400 NZD 18%
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology 20,000 NZD - 21,000 NZD 17%
Eastern Institute of Technology 20,400 NZD - 22,600 NZD 15%
Otago Polytechnic 21,000 NZD - 27,800 NZD 13%
Whitireia New Zealand 21,100 NZD - 25,400 NZD 13%
Wellington Institute of Technology 21,100 NZD - 24,900 NZD 13%
Universal College of Learning 21,400 NZD - 23,400 NZD 12%
Unitec Institute of Technology 21,500 NZD - 25,800 NZD 11%
Manukau Institute of Technology 22,500 NZD - 25,600 NZD 7%
Ara Institute of Canterbury 23,000 NZD - 26,300 NZD 5%
New Zealand Tertiary College 24,000 NZD -0%

* Average Bachelor’s International Tuition is 24,000 NZD for universities in New Zealand.

1. Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is a public university in New Zealand with campuses in Nelson, Blenheim, Marlborough, Woodbourne, and Richmond. It was established in 1905 to offer training in cooking, engineering, woodworking, commerce, and plumbing. The current programs offered by NMIT include viticulture, aquaculture, nursing, maritime, adventure tourism, creative industries, business, and computing.

2. Southern Institute of Technology

The Southern Institute of Technology is committed to offering an effective and quality education relevant to the student’s professional success. This university is known for being one of the main providers of higher education in New Zealand, not only for its large student population but also for its active presence in a large part of the country. It has campuses in four cities, two specialized teaching centers, and the option of studying online. It’s also famous for its tuition-free scheme for all domestic students in all degree programs and for having affordable tuition fees for international candidates.

3. Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki

The Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki strives to take the best out of its students in order to make them successful professionals that will meet the needs of the local and international industries. Besides bachelor’s degree programs, this university has multiple certifications and diplomas for those who want to work in a trade or update their skills. Its education is mainly practical. It mixes hands-on learning with modern facilities that include industry projects, a simulation center, a construction training park, engineering laboratories, etc.

4. Auckland Institute of Studies

The Auckland Institute of Studies is a private university in Auckland, New Zealand. It was founded in 1990 in a shopping mall in the heart of Auckland, and it now includes campuses in St. Helens and Asquith. Programs in finance, language studies, business, information technology, tourism, and hospitality management are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels through the university.

5. NorthTec

NorthTec is mainly known in New Zealand for being an institution that helps preserve Māori traditions. Almost half of its students identify themselves as part of this Polynesian people. The university has special programs that help disseminate the foundations of this culture, like the Māori art bachelor’s degree, and integrated the values of this ethnic group into the curricula and activities. It also has six campuses throughout New Zealand, where the faculty and students constantly collaborate with the local communities.

6. Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology is committed to offering an innovative learning experience to future professionals that will contribute to the local communities and the country’s economy. Besides offering degree programs in different areas of humanities, engineering, and science, the university promotes the preservation of the Māori culture by regularly holding activities and events. It also encourages student wellness through sports, professional development programs, workshops, and team-building projects.

7. Eastern Institute of Technology

The Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) is a public university in New Zealand with three campuses in Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, and Gisborne. Phil Amos, the minister of education, launched it as the Hawke’s Bay Community College in 1975. The university currently offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in education, humanities, health sciences, and social sciences to over 10,000 students.

8. Otago Polytechnic

The vision and values of Otago Polytechnic are surrounded by their goals of building student capabilities and skills. As one of New Zealand’s leading educational institutions, they emphasize the importance of research and academic projects that are vital to the nation’s growth. Currently, Otago Polytechnic delivers more than 180 programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

Besides fostering academic excellence, Otago Polytechnic provides a student-friendly environment as they emphasize real-life learning in their classes. As a result of the university’s efforts to provide quality education, they are hailed as one of the country’s top-performing institutions.

9. Whitireia New Zealand

Whitireia New Zealand is a higher education institution committed to training students by providing a strong support network and a sense of belonging to a community. It works with different industries in order to provide real-life learning experiences and has partnerships with other universities to collaborate academically. It also focuses on developing research that’s innovative and potentially helpful for the local population. This is developed in areas like hospitality, information technology, social services, and healthcare.

10. Wellington Institute of Technology

The Wellington Institute of Technology, also known as WelTec, is a polytechnic institute in Petone, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. It was formed in 2001 by the merger of the Central Institute of Technology and the Hutt Valley Polytechnic. The institute provides vocational education in more than 130 fields, including business, management, technology, the arts, design, counseling, engineering, and construction.

11. Universal College of Learning

The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is a polytechnic university in New Zealand with campuses in Palmerston North, Whanganui, Masterton, and Levin. It was founded in 1892 as the Palmerston North Technical School, and it initially offered trade apprenticeship courses. The university currently offers certificate programs as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a variety of subjects.

12. Unitec Institute of Technology

The Unitec Institute of Technology is one of the biggest technological universities in New Zealand. It focuses on giving students hands-on learning experiences to prepare them for the job market. This is done through research opportunities, collaboration with governmental organizations and international businesses, laboratory practices, and internship programs. Although this is an institute of technology, it has multiple degrees related to other areas like teaching, humanities, or languages. It also offers highly flexible options for working adults as well as the alternUnitec Institute of Technologyative of obtaining credits from your work experience.

13. Manukau Institute of Technology

The Manukau Institute of Technology is a private university in Auckland, New Zealand. It was established in 1970 and is now among the biggest national suppliers of technical, vocational, and professional education. The institute provides technical training in a wide range of disciplines, including hairdressing, business, engineering, social work, and culinary arts.

14. Ara Institute of Canterbury

The Ara Institute of Canterbury is a public institute of technology in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was founded in 2016 as a result of the merger of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Aoraki Polytechnic. The institution focuses on providing applied tertiary education in a wide range of fields, including engineering, architecture, medicine, the creative arts, radio, and many more.

15. New Zealand Tertiary College

New Zealand Tertiary College is a private college in Auckland, New Zealand. Glennie Oborn, an educator, started it as the Kindercare Early Childhood Teachers College in 1982. It was the first university to get an early childhood program approved. The college currently provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a range of educational disciplines.

Cheap Master's Colleges and Universities in New Zealand for International Students

Here is the list of affordable institutions in New Zealand ordered by their tuition fee for international master's students.

University Annual Master’s International Tuition % Cheaper than Average*
University of Canterbury 16,400 NZD - 34,800 NZD 42%
Southern Institute of Technology 16,400 NZD 41%
Otago Polytechnic 18,100 NZD - 28,300 NZD 35%
Waikato Institute of Technology 19,200 NZD - 23,700 NZD 31%
Eastern Institute of Technology 21,900 NZD - 24,700 NZD 21%
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology 23,100 NZD - 36,800 NZD 17%
Whitireia New Zealand 23,600 NZD - 37,300 NZD 15%
Unitec Institute of Technology 24,800 NZD - 29,100 NZD 11%
Manukau Institute of Technology 25,800 NZD 7%
Universal College of Learning 25,900 NZD 7%
Wellington Institute of Technology 26,200 NZD - 37,300 NZD 6%
Ara Institute of Canterbury 26,800 NZD 4%
Lincoln University 31,100 NZD - 40,000 NZD -12%
Massey University 33,000 NZD - 43,400 NZD -18%
Victoria University of Wellington 33,500 NZD - 42,800 NZD -20%

* Average Master’s International Tuition is 27,700 NZD for universities in new zealand.

1. University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury is a public research university in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was first established in 1873 as Canterbury College, a part of the University of New Zealand. The institution offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the humanities, business, education, law, social sciences, and music.

If you're looking to save the most on your graduate studies abroad, University of Canterbury should be at the top of your list. International students here pay only 16,304 NZD to 34,782 NZD annually for their master's degree.

2. Southern Institute of Technology

One of the universities you should definitely check out for practical reasons is Southern Institute of Technology. Here, you can finish your master's degree with minimal stress on your finances. After all, the tuition rate for graduate studies at Southern Institute of Technology is 16,400 NZD.

The Southern Institute of Technology is committed to offering an effective and quality education relevant to the student’s professional success. This university is known for being one of the main providers of higher education in New Zealand, not only for its large student population but also for its active presence in a large part of the country. It has campuses in four cities, two specialized teaching centers, and the option of studying online. It’s also famous for its tuition-free scheme for all domestic students in all degree programs and for having affordable tuition fees for international candidates.

3. Otago Polytechnic

The vision and values of Otago Polytechnic are surrounded by their goals of building student capabilities and skills. As one of New Zealand’s leading educational institutions, they emphasize the importance of research and academic projects that are vital to the nation’s growth. Currently, Otago Polytechnic delivers more than 180 programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

Besides fostering academic excellence, Otago Polytechnic provides a student-friendly environment as they emphasize real-life learning in their classes. As a result of the university’s efforts to provide quality education, they are hailed as one of the country’s top-performing institutions.

The tuition fee at Otago Polytechnic for incoming international master’s students is 18,015 NZD to 28,220 NZD. With its cheap rates, you can guarantee you’ll get a quality education without breaking the bank!

4. Waikato Institute of Technology

Another affordable university to consider in New Zealand is Waikato Institute of Technology.

The Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) is a technical institute located in Hamilton, New Zealand. Other campuses are located throughout Hamilton and the Waikato Region. It began in 1924 as Hamilton Technical College. Wintec provides undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs, as well as tertiary programs in nursing, midwifery, design, engineering, and education.

The tuition fee in Waikato Institute of Technology for master’s program for foreign students starts from 19,120 NZD.

5. Eastern Institute of Technology

Aside from its outstanding quality of education, Eastern Institute of Technology has some of the lowest tuition fee prices for foreign students who are planning to take a master's degree here. International master's students only pay as low as 21,900 NZD yearly.

The Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) is a public university in New Zealand with three campuses in Hawke’s Bay, Auckland, and Gisborne. Phil Amos, the minister of education, launched it as the Hawke’s Bay Community College in 1975. The university currently offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in education, humanities, health sciences, and social sciences to over 10,000 students.

6. Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

The Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology is committed to offering an innovative learning experience to future professionals that will contribute to the local communities and the country’s economy. Besides offering degree programs in different areas of humanities, engineering, and science, the university promotes the preservation of the Māori culture by regularly holding activities and events. It also encourages student wellness through sports, professional development programs, workshops, and team-building projects.

7. Whitireia New Zealand

Whitireia New Zealand is a higher education institution committed to training students by providing a strong support network and a sense of belonging to a community. It works with different industries in order to provide real-life learning experiences and has partnerships with other universities to collaborate academically. It also focuses on developing research that’s innovative and potentially helpful for the local population. This is developed in areas like hospitality, information technology, social services, and healthcare.

8. Unitec Institute of Technology

The Unitec Institute of Technology is one of the biggest technological universities in New Zealand. It focuses on giving students hands-on learning experiences to prepare them for the job market. This is done through research opportunities, collaboration with governmental organizations and international businesses, laboratory practices, and internship programs. Although this is an institute of technology, it has multiple degrees related to other areas like teaching, humanities, or languages. It also offers highly flexible options for working adults as well as the alternUnitec Institute of Technologyative of obtaining credits from your work experience.

9. Manukau Institute of Technology

The Manukau Institute of Technology is a private university in Auckland, New Zealand. It was established in 1970 and is now among the biggest national suppliers of technical, vocational, and professional education. The institute provides technical training in a wide range of disciplines, including hairdressing, business, engineering, social work, and culinary arts.

10. Universal College of Learning

The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is a polytechnic university in New Zealand with campuses in Palmerston North, Whanganui, Masterton, and Levin. It was founded in 1892 as the Palmerston North Technical School, and it initially offered trade apprenticeship courses. The university currently offers certificate programs as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a variety of subjects.

11. Wellington Institute of Technology

The Wellington Institute of Technology, also known as WelTec, is a polytechnic institute in Petone, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. It was formed in 2001 by the merger of the Central Institute of Technology and the Hutt Valley Polytechnic. The institute provides vocational education in more than 130 fields, including business, management, technology, the arts, design, counseling, engineering, and construction.

12. Ara Institute of Canterbury

The Ara Institute of Canterbury is a public institute of technology in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was founded in 2016 as a result of the merger of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Aoraki Polytechnic. The institution focuses on providing applied tertiary education in a wide range of fields, including engineering, architecture, medicine, the creative arts, radio, and many more.

13. Lincoln University

Lincoln University is a public agricultural research university in Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand. It was established in 1878 as the School of Agriculture of Canterbury University College, and in 1990 it was given university status. The Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Faculty of Environment, Society, and Design are its only three academic departments, making it the smallest university in the nation.

14. Massey University

Massey University is a public university in New Zealand with campuses in Palmerston North, Albany, and Wellington. It was established in 1927 as a result of the New Zealand Agricultural College Act, which permitted the merger of numerous agricultural schools. The institution provides undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a variety of subject areas, including nanoscience, veterinary medicine, aviation, and conflict resolution, all of which are uniquely available at Massey University.

15. Victoria University of Wellington

The Victoria University of Wellington is a public university in Wellington, New Zealand. It was established as a part of the University of New Zealand in 1897. The university offers a wide range of other disciplines, including architecture, business, engineering, and health sciences, but it is known for its law and humanities programs.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I get admission to affordable universities in New Zealand?

Applying to cheap universities in New Zealand requires you to complete different requirements depending on your degree and chosen university. These usually include admission forms, language proficiency scores, and a visa. Check out our full guide to studying in New Zealand for a more comprehensive guide!

2. What can I study at Best affordable universities in New Zealand?

International students can study a variety of programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in New Zealand. For example, one of the best affordable schools in New Zealand is the Ara Institute of Canterbury, which offers Journalism, Fashion Technology and Design, and Visual Communication Design to students seeking a bachelor’s degree. At the master’s level, the Ara Institute of Canterbury offers Sustainable Practice, and Creative Practice.


It's important to take a look at all your options when selecting where to attend post-secondary school. With so many different types of schools, degrees, and universities in New Zealand, it can be tough to know where to start looking.

So, make sure to explore the best public universities in New Zealand as well if you're looking for affordable education!

We hope that this article on affordable institutions in New Zealand for international students was helpful!