Figures indicate that a decline in study hours among university students in the United States has been mirrored in New Zealand.
Research from the University of California found students in 1961 spent an average 40 hours per week on academic work, including attending lectures.
By this decade, the average time spent on studying had fallen to 27 hours.
An education consultant, Dave Guerin, says figures for the same period in New Zealand are similar.
He says today's students might have more distractions, or are perhaps more efficient, thanks to technology like computers.
But the Union of Students' Associations co-president, David Do, says students are working harder than ever.
Mr Do says fees increase pressure to work hard and more students have to support themselves financially.