University of Canterbury campus bustling with new students

A huge 21% increase in new students at the University of Canterbury (UC) this year will help boost the Canterbury economy.

UC’s Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey has welcomed the good news of increased numbers of new and returning students enrolling at UC.

“We currently have more than 18,000 UC students, compared to 16,900 at the same time last year – an overall increase of 7%. We’ve also seen an increase of 21% for Māori student enrolments and a 15% increase in Pacific students studying at UC this year, compared to last.”

The growth in student numbers is of benefit to the region, with more students bringing a population boost to Canterbury at a time when immigration numbers are stagnant and international tourism hit hard.

“The vast numbers of new-to-UC students and total growth of domestic students across a wide range of academic programmes, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, is gratifying to see,” she says.

“It’s worth noting that this boost is unlikely to offset the loss of full-fee-paying international students, which has seen a 44% drop in international enrolments compared to this time last year.”

UC students overseas have had their study severely impacted, but there is reason for optimism, the Vice-Chancellor says. Despite not being able to travel to New Zealand yet, over 100 new-to-UC online international students have enrolled for 2021.

“We are pleased to have these new students around the globe joining us online. Our online-to-campus students have a mentoring programme and a separate orientation programme designed especially for them.  We have online students from a range of countries such as China, the United States, Thailand, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, India and many other places. The UC degrees they’re studying include Science, Product Design, Applied Data Science, Engineering, Arts and Commerce,” Professor De la Rey says.

“We’re delighted that a small number will soon be able to return to Aotearoa to complete their studies. UC has 82 of the total places for international students to return to New Zealand later this year.”

“Most sectors and institutions have been financially affected in some way by the global pandemic, so like many other organisations, UC is trying to be innovative as we face financial challenges,” she says. “We are reducing costs where possible, but this will not impact on personnel costs or course delivery at this time.”

Speaking of finances, Professor De la Rey notes that for many people, flatting in other cities is increasingly difficult on a student budget, making Christchurch more attractive.“Living on or near the UC campus, with a lifestyle that can take you from lectures to the beach or city centre in 20 minutes or the ski-field in 90 minutes, is far more appealing and affordable than trying to live on a student budget in some other cities.”

Domestic students:

Total current enrolments for Domestic students are 13% (1584 EFTS) above 2020

  • Enrolments for Domestic first-year students are 21% (746 EFTS) above 2020
  • Enrolments for Domestic returning students are 9% (838 EFTS) above 2020

International Fee-Paying Students:

Total current enrolments for International students are 44% (668 EFTS) below 2020

  • Enrolments for International first-year students are 67% (454 EFTS) below 2020
  • Enrolments for International returning students are 26% (214 EFTS)  below 2020


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