The cost of tertiary training

In our income outcomes analysis we tracked the income of 19 year old kiwis heading down different tertiary pathways, comparing their income accumulated. Tracking income alone however does not tell the complete story in terms of wealth as many tertiary students are required to take out student loans to cover course fees and living costs.

In the dashboard below we present the average student loan of the groups identified in the income outcomes analysis.

We allow for both CPI adjusted figures as well as nominal. There is some merit to using nominal figures as student loans are offered interest free in New Zealand.


This analysis builds upon the income outcomes analysis where we take 19 year olds each year between 2003 and 2013. From these persons we classify them down tertiary pathways based on enrollments at age 19 and completions by the age 25.

Within these populations we determine the average student loans accumulated of those students who have student loan records.


Access to the data used in this study was provided by Stats NZ under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Data and Statistics Act 2022. The results presented in this study are the work of the author, not Stats NZ or individual data suppliers.

These results are not official statistics. They have been created for research purposes from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) which is carefully managed by Stats NZ. For more information about the IDI please visit https://www.stats.govt.nz/integrated-data/.

The results are based in part on tax data supplied by Inland Revenue to Stats NZ under the Tax Administration Act 1994 for statistical purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the IDI for statistical purposes, and is not related to the data's ability to support Inland Revenue's core operational requirements.

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Income outcomes of tertiary pathways

Leave school, go to uni, get a degree, get a job and a haircut. Or could there be another way?

Income University Polytechnic Income outcomes University graduates Cost of study Tertiary Student loans