The number of foreign students is close to its lowest point in a decade.
Language schools and universities throughout New Zealand are reporting static or falling enrolments, and say the high dollar and global recession are to blame.
International student numbers had been recovering after dropping to barely 90,000 five years ago, but in 2012 fell 6% to below 92,000 and another drop is possible this year.
English language schools suffered most of last year's decline. English New Zealand, which represents 25 of the schools, says enrolments at its members are down a further 10% this year.
At universities, slight increases in enrolments at some have been outweighed by drops at others, while secondary schools say it is harder to attract students.
Education leaders say the high New Zealand dollar and the impact of the recession in other countries are hurting foreign student enrolments.
They say Australia is also finding it harder to attract students.