The number of enrolments in tertiary education has fallen this year and the Government is attributing the change to improved job prospects and a decline in the number of young people.
Latest figures show domestic enrolments in August were 0.9% lower than at the same time last year, an overall drop of about 3000 students.
There were 349,000 New Zealanders enrolled in tertiary education between January and August, most of them in certificate or degree courses.
The biggest declines are in certificate and diploma courses, down nearly 3000 enrolments. Enrolments in bachelors degrees have fallen 1.6% or 2000 students.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says the numbers reflect a reduction in the number of people in the population aged between 18 and 22 and more people moving back into work and work-based study as the economy recovers.
The Government says the figures also show its decision to abolish student allowances for postgraduate students has resulted in only a small decline in postgraduate enrolments.