Education New Zealand says annual spending by foreign students is on track to exceed $3 billion by the end of next year.
Government figures issued on Thursday show international student numbers rose by 6% last year.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says there were 93,505 fee-paying international students in New Zealand and further growth is expected this year.
Education New Zealand says spending by international students provides an estimated $2.3 billion in foreign exchange each year.
Chief executive Robert Stevens says the industry wants to increase its income by 10% each year for three years and it is on track to achieve that target.
The figures show 60% of last year's international students came from Asia, with Europe and the Middle East increasing in importance.