Affordable Universities in New Zealand for International Students

Last updated: 5 October 2023 NZ University Guide NZ University Rankings Student Experience

Are you seeking a quality education that’s easy on your pocket? If so, then look no further than the cheapest universities in New Zealand that offer quality education and immense career opportunities. New Zealand is home to the finest universities worldwide, all of which are ranked in the top 3% in the world in the QS World University Rankings.

Why study in New Zealand?

Graduates from NZ are valued by employers globally, and a combination of detailed course curriculum and hands-on training allows international students to think independently, solve problems creatively and gain a degree that is respected all over the world. Acquiring a degree from New Zealand’s affordable universities has the following benefits -

  1. Quality education
  2. Affordable tuition fees
  3. There is a wide range of courses and disciplines to choose from
  4. Diversified culture
  5. Option to work while studying
  6. A lot of scholarships and grants to avail

affordable new zealand universities

Cheapest Universities in New Zealand 2024

Check out the cheapest universities in New Zealand in 2024 below:

- The University of Auckland (UoA)

The University of Auckland is a public research university established in 1883 and is known to be one of the highest-ranked universities in the world. It ranked #150 in the QS Graduate Employability Ranking 2024, with an acceptance rate of 45% for international students. UoA was the only university to feature under the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2023. Despite being one of the top-ranked universities worldwide, it is one of the low-tuition fee universities in New Zealand (NZ). 

As of 2022, the university has over 172,000 active alumni spread across the globe. Some of the notable alumni are - Vincent Cheng (chairman of HSBC), Jan Beagle (under-secretary general of the United Nations), and Christine Tan (CNBC news anchor). 

- Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

Auckland University of Technology is a public research university established in 2000 in Auckland. It is the third-largest university in terms of total enrollment and implementation of modern technology. The college has affiliations with ASAIHL, AACSB, and ACU. According to QS World University Rankings 2024, AUT is ranked #401-500 with an acceptance rate of 50% (approx). The university offers exceptional learning experiences that prepare students to be successful. With an innovative teaching and learning environment, AUT is one of the cheapest universities in New Zealand. Some notable alumni are Clare Hocking, Tom Zhu, John Key, etc. 

- University of Canterbury (UC)

The University of Canterbury was established in 1873 as the first constituent college of the University of New Zealand. It is the second oldest university after the University of Otago, with three campuses across Christchurch. According to QS World University Ranking 2024, the university ranks 501-600 with an acceptance rate of 50%. The university is well known for its engineering and science programs, with its civil engineering program ranking 9th worldwide (in 2021). Some notable alumni are Ernest Rutherford, Sam Neill, Rob Fyfe, etc.  

UC aims to provide students with a world-class education with internships and global study opportunities. The average cost of living in Christchurch is NZ$1350 without rent, making it the cheapest university in New Zealand in 2024. 

- Lincoln University

Founded in 1878, Lincoln University is the oldest agricultural university in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a constituent of the University of Canterbury and is rated among the top 1.5% of the global QS World University Ranking. The university ranks 401-500 in the 2024 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, with an acceptance rate of 60%. Additionally, the university offers four scholarships to international students, thus making it one of the top New Zealand’s affordable universities. Some notable alumni are - Jeremy Rockliff, Maggie Barry, Toni Street, etc. 

- Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), Invercargill Campus

The Southern Institute of Technology, Invercargill Campus, is a public tertiary educational institution established in 1971. It has a strong bond of alumni networks spread across the globe. Apart from providing quality education and facilities, SIT is known for its Zero Fees Scheme. However, the fee scheme has even been extended to international students through Zero Fees English and Zero Fees Foundation Studies Program.

However, the institute has a rapidly growing number of international students and is a member of the International Association of Universities. With its strong community support, SIT offers the best value for its quality education with affordable fees. 

Other universities, like Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotorua and the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, offer quality education at affordable rates. These universities provide excellent opportunities for international students to study with minimum tuition fees. Are you planning to begin your studies? Check out the courses offered by clicking on the link mentioned above. 

Cost of Living in New Zealand

The best thing about getting a degree in New Zealand is its flexible education system that suits the budget. Living costs are similar to other countries and combine excellent work/life balance and quality living. However, the general cost of living mainly depends on your lifestyle and which part of the country you live in. 

The average cost of living for a single person per month (without rent) is NZ$ 4607 monthly. This is relatively low compared to other countries. While applying for a student visa, you must provide evidence that you have at least NZ$ 20,000 to NZ$ 17,000 for school years 1-3) to cover your living expenses for the first year. Also, New Zealand allows students to work 20 hours per week for at least two academic years to meet the cost of living. 

Scholarships at New Zealand Universities

One thing that makes New Zealand a more attractive place to study is its scholarship and grant schemes. However, these scholarships or grants are open for students who meet the required criteria. The types of scholarships available for international students are 

Cheapest Universities in New Zealand FAQ

What is the cheapest city in New Zealand for International students?

New Zealand ranks top as the study abroad destination for international students. The cost of living mainly depends on the expenses, such as food, living, and transportation. However, the cheapest cities in New Zealand for international students are - Hamilton, Christchurch, Auckland, and Dunedin. 

Can I study in New Zealand without IELTS?

Yes, students can get a New Zealand student visa without IELTS. However, to be eligible for that, the New Zealand Immigration Authority examines your English communication skills before approving your visa. 

Can I work in New Zealand while studying?

NZ allows students to work part-time up to 20 hours per week for at least two academic years. International students can earn around NZD 20 per hour on average, which makes more than a minimum wage in some situations.

Universities featured in this article:

  • Auckland University of Technology
  • Lincoln University
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • University of Auckland
Back to Study Guide

"SI-New Zealand helped me successfully apply to study business in New Zealand and I cannot thank them enough for their support. They assisted me with each step, ensuring I was aware of all my options in terms of program and university selection, making the process totally stress free."

Isabella Ramos Business and Management

Isabella Ramos