University bosses say they would benefit from Government help to increase their international student numbers, but warn foreign students are only a short term answer to their funding issues.
The Government has encouraged universities to enrol more international students, saying they cannot rely on the taxpayer for more funding.
Minister of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce says he has talked with vice-chancellors about the issue.
The chairman of the Vice-Chancellors Committee's international committee, Professor Roy Crawford, says the Government could make it easier to recruit international students.
But he says the profit margins on international students are similar to domestic students.
The number and proportion of international students at universities has doubled in 10 years to reach about 15,000 students or 13% of the total.