Some polytechnics are reporting strong enrolments and say relatively high unemployment is continuing to drive people into tertiary education.
Institutions in New Plymouth, Wellington, Porirua and Auckland say enrolments are between 5% and 40% higher than at the same time last year.
However, they note that enrolments also started well in 2011, only to slump in the second half of the year.
That slump resulted in some polytechnics falling short of enrolment targets and they hope the same thing will not happen this year.
Auckland's Unitec, the country's largest polytechnic, says more people are studying part-time, which is a sign the job market is picking up.