Māori have responded well after University Entrance standards were raised last year, on average out-performing Pākehā in numeracy and literacy.
Figures supplied by Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara - show Māori did better than other sections of New Zealand's population, with 97 percent meeting the new standards, compared with an average of 95 percent.
The organisation, which represents the country's vice-chancellors, said while Māori did well in those two subjects, the entire cohort of University Entrance students that did not gain UE did not get their third subject.
Its executive director said it did not have any clear evidence yet as to why so many students missed out on their third subject, but it was now doing research to try to find answers.
Chris Whelan said some theories included that smaller schools, particularly rural ones, may have had difficulty offering the full range of electives necessary for students to meet UE requirements.
He said some schools or students may not have received or fully understood the changes, but the Ministry of Education and schools were already working on ensuring it did not happen again.
Figures from Universities New Zealand show 70 per cent of full-time domestic university students are of European descent, Asians make up just over 19 percent, Māori 10.5 percent and Pacific Islanders seven per cent.