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Survey of English Language Providers Year ended March 2006





Survey of English Language Providers

Overview
This paper provides new additional detail on spending by international students, which forms part of the exports of travel services component in the Balance of Payments, and also in the expenditure measure of Gross Domestic Product.

For the year ended March 2006, travel exports (spending by visitors to New Zealand) were valued at $7,080 million and accounted for 16.1 percent of total exports of goods and services. Estimated spending by international students contributed $1,291 million, or 18.2 percent of travel exports.

There are two main data sources used in estimating spending by international students in New Zealand:
  • The survey of English Language Providers (ELP), an annual survey that collects information from English language schools on expenditure by non-resident students studying in New Zealand.
  • Estimated spending by international students studying at primary and secondary schools, and in formal tertiary courses, is calculated using enrolment numbers from the Ministry of Education. Data on student enrolments at other institutions is provided as at the year ended July 2005. This data is used as an approximation for the year ended March 2006, as it is the most recent data available.

Total expenditure by international students
The estimated total value of expenditure by all international students studying in New Zealand fell $189 million, to $1,291 million for the year ended March 2006. Estimated expenditure by international students studying at primary and secondary schools, and for formal tertiary qualifications, fell $104 million from the March 2005 year to the March 2006 year. This fall was due to fewer foreign students studying in New Zealand this year. According to the ELP survey, total expenditure by non-resident students at English language schools decreased $85 million (27.4 percent) over the same period. This paper focuses on the data gathered from the ELP survey.

Student numbers and tuition revenue continue to fall
During the March 2006 year there was a total of 35,749 international students enrolled in English language schools in New Zealand, according to results from the ELP survey. The tuition and related fees earned by New Zealand English language schools from these students totalled $112 million.

The number of English language students fell 17.7 percent from the March 2005 year to the March 2006 year, following a 14.3 percent drop for the previous year. The number of students enrolled in English language courses was 35,754 fewer than for the March 2003 year, when student numbers peaked. The number of Chinese students was 21,903 less in the March 2006 year than in the March 2003 year.

Income earned from tuition and related fees fell $43 million from the March 2005 year to the March 2006 year, a decrease of 27.5 percent. This compares with a decrease of $58 million for the previous year. Some respondents indicated that students were enrolling in shorter courses in the March 2006 year compared with the previous year. This, combined with the decrease in student numbers, contributed to the lower tuition revenue reported for the year ended March 2006.

According to the Reserve Bank, the average Trade Weighted Index (TWI) for the March 2006 year was 4.4 percent higher than for the March 2005 year. This appreciation of the New Zealand dollar meant that New Zealand may have been a more expensive place to study during the March 2006 year, as well as contributing to a decrease in the average amount spent per student.

Expenditure by international students at English language schools
Total expenditure by international students studying at English language schools is calculated by summing expenditure on tuition and accommodation recorded in the ELP survey. An estimate for other expenditure by these students is then added to data derived from the ELP survey.

The total estimate for expenditure by international students studying at English language schools decreased from $310 million for the March 2005 year to $225 million for the March 2006 year. Revenue from tuition and related fees fell 27.5 percent in the March 2006 year, while revenue from accommodation provision fell 27.2 percent.

Student weeks
Respondents to the 2006 ELP survey were asked to provide data on the length of courses (in weeks), by country. The average length of study attributed to English language courses for the March 2006 year was 10 weeks. This information will continue to be collected in the future to enable analysis of changes in average course lengths over time. Refer to the ‘student weeks’ section of the methodology notes accompanying this paper for further information.

English language provider tuition revenue
ELP tuition revenue was $112 million for the March 2006 year, down from $155 million reported for the previous March year. Tuition revenue is now 56.4 percent lower than it was for the year ended March 2003. The largest decrease in tuition expenditure between the March 2005 year and the March 2006 year was by students from China, whose expenditure fell $23.2 million (39.7 percent). Other large decreases in tuition revenue were for Japan, down $11.6 million (36.1 percent) and Korea, down $2.3 million (11.2 percent). These decreases were slightly offset by a $1.2 million (61.5 percent) increase in tuition expenditure by students from Saudi Arabia. Chinese students’ tuition expenditure is now $100.9 million lower than in the March 2003 year.


Student numbers
The number of international students enrolled in English language schools in New Zealand during the March 2006 year was 35,749, down 17.7 percent from the previous March year. This is the third consecutive decrease in student numbers since the March 2003 year, when student numbers peaked at 71,503.

The number of students from China fell 5,817 (50.5 percent) from the March 2005 to the March 2006 year. Student numbers from China are 79.4 percent lower compared with the March 2003 year, with students from both Japan and Korea now outnumbering those from China. However, although Chinese students make up only 15.9 percent of total student numbers, they contribute 31.3 percent of tuition revenue received by English language schools.

Other countries recording large decreases in student numbers between the March 2005 and March 2006 years were Japan (down 2,106), Korea (down 847), and Switzerland (down 425). These falls were partly offset by increases in student numbers from Saudi Arabia (up 562) and French Polynesia (up 339).


English language provider accommodation provision
Accommodation revenue collected in the ELP survey only includes revenue for accommodation provided or arranged by English language schools. For the year ended March 2006 English language provider accommodation revenue was $28.5 million, down $10.6 million from the previous year. As with tuition revenue and student numbers, accommodation revenue is significantly lower this year compared with the March 2003 year, down 54.1 percent.

The largest decrease in accommodation expenditure from the March 2005 year to the March 2006 year was by students from China, down $4.9 million (44.2 percent) from the previous year. Students from almost all major countries recorded decreases in accommodation expenditure over this period. Other large decreases in accommodation expenditure were for students from Japan (down $3.0 million) and Switzerland (down $1.0 million).

For further information on the accommodation data from the ELP survey, please refer to the ‘limitations’ section of the methodology notes accompanying this report.


For technical information contact:
Wido van Lijf
Wellington 04 931 4221
Email: info@stats.govt.nz



Methodology

Purpose of the survey
The survey of English Language Providers (ELP) measures the revenue earned by New Zealand English language schools for education services, and accommodation services provided to non-resident students studying in New Zealand. The data collected from this survey is then used in the calculation of total education exports in the travel component of the Balance of Payments statistics.


Information collected
The ELP survey collects data on total revenue received from tuition and other types of fees for education services provided to non-resident students studying at English language schools. Other types of fees include activity fees, enrolment fees, book fees, and administration and processing fees. The survey also collects data on the total revenue received from non-resident students for any boarding, accommodation or homestay placement fees, where accommodation is arranged by the school. Data is requested by the country of residence of students. Also collected is the number of students from each country, and the number of student weeks studied.


Population
All known New Zealand private, polytechnic and university English language schools with non-resident students are surveyed. Respondents are identified from the Statistics New Zealand Business Frame, the English Language Schools Register (provided by the Ministry of Education), Education New Zealand Trust, the Federation of Independent English Language Schools of New Zealand (FIELSNZ) and media search activity. Primary and secondary schools are not included in the ELP survey. Where institutions offer other courses, for example formal tertiary qualifications, international students enrolled in these courses are recorded separately.


Imputations
Imputations are calculated to allow for English language providers who were surveyed but did not respond. Non-response imputations are based on the data received from that respondent the year before, rated forward by a measure of the change in the data of schools that did respond. If the respondent was not in the survey previously, or did not respond in the previous year, non-response is imputed from the average of similar-sized respondents. An estimate is also made for spending by international students on accommodation not provided by English language schools and for other spending by English language students.


Limitations
The ELP survey collects data on expenditure by international students on tuition and accommodation arranged by English language schools. No other expenditure data is collected. Expenditure estimates for international students studying in New Zealand at primary and secondary schools, and those studying for formal tertiary qualifications, is based on data on average course fees.


Country data from the ELP survey should be used with caution. Respondents may not always be able to accurately identify the number of students by country of origin. Further, some respondents were able to report the number of students by country and total tuition revenue, but not tuition revenue on a by-country basis. In such cases, the same average expenditure per student was applied to all students, regardless of country of origin.

The ELP survey is designed to collect data on the number of students and expenditure for the period between 1 April and 31 March. However, it is not always possible for English language schools to report on a year ended March basis. In such cases the respondents are asked to provide the requested information for an alternative recent year ended, such as the year ended December.

In the ELP survey, respondents are asked to provide an estimate for revenue from accommodation arranged by the school. Statistics NZ does not explicitly collect information on the accommodation expenditure of international students that do not have their accommodation arranged by the English language school. However, the estimate for other expenditure by ELP students includes all spending, other than tuition and related fees, by international students studying on English language courses in New Zealand. Therefore all accommodation expenditure, whether arranged by an English language school or not, will be implicitly included in the 'other expenditure' estimate.

Student numbers
Student numbers collected in the ELP survey are the number of students studying at any time between the period April 2005 to the end of March 2006. This number of students does not reflect full-time equivalent student numbers, therefore differences in tuition and accommodation expenditure per student can be a result of the differences in the length of courses.


Student weeks
In the year ended March 2006 ELP questionnaire respondents were asked for the first time to provide the number of student weeks, by country. This data provides information on the length of courses being undertaken by international students at English language schools. Together with student number figures, this additional data will help explain movements in tuition revenue. Some schools are unable to provide accurate information on the number of student weeks, by country. In these instances the average number of student weeks, as reported by all other respondents, is assigned to the relevant countries. Where schools provide data in full-time equivalent student (EFTS) numbers, these figures are reported as student weeks by using the ratio from the Ministry of Education website which states that one EFTS equals forty student weeks.

Response rates
The ELP survey has been run as a census since 2003. In the March 2006 year, 162 schools provided data and a response rate of 86 percent was achieved for the survey. Schools that closed down during the survey period may have had students earlier in the year who may not have been included in the results.

Number of schools in survey
In the March 2006 year, there were 193 schools in the survey population for the ELP questionnaire. The population has remained stable for the last three years. The number of schools returning data was 125 in the March 2006 year, with 37 schools responding as having no revenue or students for the period. These 'nil responses' are a mixture of schools that have closed down, newly established schools which were planning to begin operations during the March 2007 year, and schools that have had no activity during the March 2006 year but are expecting data for the following year.

2003
2004
2005
2006
Schools in survey
136
186
189
193
Number responding with non-zero data
103
151
139
125
Total responding
131
179
173
162

Revisions to previously published data
Revisions were made to the 2005 ELP survey data and to the estimated expenditure of international students studying in New Zealand, to include late returns of surveys and revised estimates of average student expenditure.


Sampling errors
As the ELP survey is run as a census, sampling errors are not calculated.


Non-sampling errors
Non-sampling errors in the survey data may result from errors in the survey frame, respondent error, mistakes made during processing survey results and non-response imputation. There may be some English language schools that are not registered or are for some other reason not included in this survey population. Statistics NZ adopts procedures to detect and minimise these types of errors but they may still occur and they are not quantifiable.

Copyright
Information obtained from Statistics NZ may be freely used, reproduced, or quoted unless otherwise specified. In all cases Statistics NZ must be acknowledged as the source.

Liability
While care has been used in processing, analysing and extracting information, Statistics NZ gives no warranty that the information supplied is free from error. Statistics NZ shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of any information, product or service.

Timing
Timed statistical releases are delivered using postal and electronic services provided by third parties. Delivery of these releases may be delayed by circumstances outside the control of Statistics NZ. Statistics NZ accepts no responsibility for any such delays.
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