New Zealand is a picturesque nation known for its pristine and peaceful environment. Truly out of the movie scene (specifically, the Lord of the Rings series), the country will surely take your breath away.

Although most expect this beauty to come with expensive educational fees, it’s actually not the case. In New Zealand, you can get a quality education for cheap – as long as you set your sights on any of these affordable universities in New Zealand for international students.

What Are the Requirements for Studying in New Zealand?

To study in New Zealand, applicants need to satisfy all NCEA Level 3 qualifications. The basic requirement is a high school/bachelor’s diploma equivalent to the country’s standards. Examples of these include the UK GCSE A, Hong Kong A levels, or the Malaysian Australian Matriculation Year 12 certificate. Proof of English proficiency is required as well.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Can You Study in New Zealand Universities in English?

Yes. All universities in New Zealand teach in English, which is one of the country’s official languages. At the University of Auckland, undergraduate applicants can study in English provided they have met the proficiency requirements. The same goes for the University of Otago, which accepts the IELTS, TOEFL, and Duolingo as proof of proficiency.

Cheap Universities in New Zealand

1. University of Waikato

The University of Waikato is a comprehensive educational institution in Hamilton, New Zealand. Founded in 1967, the university was established to fulfill the academic needs of citizens in the Southern Auckland region. With the tuition fee starting from $18,725 a year, the University of Waikato is the cheapest university in New Zealand for international students.

Waikato offers various undergraduate and graduate programs, including that of Arts, Law, Psychology, Health, Engineering, Computing Science, Education, Indigenous Studies, and Management.

29% of Waikato’s 10,250+ students represent various nations from all around the world.

2. Victoria University of Wellington

Known in Maori as the Te Herenga Waka, the Victoria University of Wellington is an affordable public university in New Zealand founded in the year 1897. Formerly a constituent college of the University of New Zealand, it was established following the passing of the Act of Parliament.

The university’s three campuses are located in Kelburn, Pipitea, and Te Aro. Here, students can dabble in the studies of Education, Engineering, Science, Social Science, Humanities, Health, Management, Law, Government, Finance, Economics, Information Management, Architecture, and Design.

Reflective of the country’s diverse population, the Victoria University of Wellington has 22% foreign students out of its 17,700+ entrants.

3. University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury – or Cantuar for short – was founded in 1873 at Christchurch, New Zealand. As the first constituent college of the University of New Zealand, it is etched in history as the second-oldest educational institution in the country.

Here, foreign students can major in either the arts, business, law, education, health, human development, engineering, or science, to name a few.

More than just having a 1:1 ratio of female and male students, Cantuar is also known for its diverse student population. To date, 29% of the university’s 14,000+ students are of foreign nationalities.

4. University of Otago

Next on our list of cheapest universities in New Zealand is the University of Otago, a public educational institution located in Dunedin, Otago. However, it also has satellite campuses in Christchurch, Wellington, Invercargill, and Auckland.

Founded in 1869 by Thomas Burns, the university is heralded as the oldest in the entire country. With its long history of education, it offers various undergraduate and graduate programs through the Schools of Business, Science, Humanities, and Health Science.

21% of the university’s 18,500+ students come from outside the country.

5. Massey University

Massey University is a public institution based in Palmerston North – with branches in Wellington and Albany. Founded in 1927, it is the only university in the country to offer programs in veterinary medicine, aviation, dispute resolution, and nanoscience.

Apart from these unique degrees, this cheap university in New Zealand also offers degrees in the fields of Business, Health, Creative Arts, Humanities, Health, Science, and Maori Knowledge.

Approximately 3,000 Massey students come from 100 countries across the globe.

6. Lincoln University

Lincoln University or Te Whare Wānaka o Aoraki was founded in 1990 following its separation from the University of Canterbury. Based in Lincoln, Canterbury, it is recognized as one of the country’s 8 public educational institutions.

The university offers various programs in the fields of Agribusiness & Commerce, Agriculture & Life Sciences, and Environment, Society, & Design.

Despite being one of the smallest universities in terms of enrollment, it does come with a big foreign student population. As of date, 42% of its 2,500+ students hail from various nations all across the globe.

7. Auckland University of Technology

The Auckland University of Technology, another affordable university in New Zealand, is a former technology school founded in the year 1895. After more than a century’s worth of operation, it was finally granted university status in the year 2000.

To date, it has 3 campuses in the North, South, and City of Auckland.

Although AUT is known for its technological courses, it also offers degrees in the fields of art & design, business, clinical science, communications, education, hospitality, law, and public health.

Of AUT’s 29,000+ strong student population, more than 4,000 come from 94 countries all around the world.


I hope that this article on the cheapest universities in New Zealand for international students was helpful. If you are interested in knowing more information like this, check out the Available Programs for International Students

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  1. rachel - Reply

    What is cheap here ? $20,000 are cheap universities?

    • Hyun Lee - Reply

      Hello unfortunately, education is expensive. Whether $20,000 is cheap or not is relative to tuition fees of other universities in New Zealand. We will try to find universities in New Zealand that are cheaper and update this article.

  2. Sonia Madad - Reply

    Can you please be specific and tell us about scholarships offered by universities for masters programs. And tell us how to apply

  3. Jimoh Mustapha - Reply

    Looking for a university that is very cheap.

    • Hyun Lee - Reply

      Hello, check out our list of cheap universities in New Zealand above for more information

  4. Anonymous - Reply

    Some of us came from a countries that we struggle to pay the fees….That is not a cheap fees.

    • Hyun Lee - Reply

      Hello, I do understand, but these are the cheapest universities in New Zealand. We will do some more research to see if there are even cheaper universities. If you cannot pay the tuition of these universities, I highly recommend looking at Europe’s free tuition universities or look at scholarships offered in New Zealand. This list is the cheapest tuition fees universities in New Zealand that we could find, and if you cannot pay those fees, you should look at other options such as other countries where tuition fees are more affordable (or even free) or find scholarships in New Zealand to fund your studies.

  5. Okechukwu Chinwendu - Reply

    By any parameters this universities is not cheap; please do more to research the universities in New Zealand that’s cheap.

    • Hyun Lee - Reply

      Hi, we will definitely do so and update this article. Thanks for your input!

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