Overseas nursing student loss hits Waiariki bottom line

1 September 2012

Losing 200 prospective overseas nurse students next year will cost Waiariki’s nursing school close to $2 million in lost income.

Keith Ikin, Waiariki CEO, said discontinuing the RN-BN pathway programme would result in a “significant loss of income” and the school had to review its budget for next year on the basis of losing 200 prospective international student enrolments.

Waiariki has been a large player in the international nursing student market, with 407 students graduating from its RN-BN programme since 2007 and also high oversea enrolments in its infection control programmes. The NZQA review findings recommended that Waiariki undertake a broader review of its approach to export education, given its focus on international provision.

Ikin, when asked whether Waiariki had become too reliant on export education, said it was a government directive to the tertiary sector to double export education.

He said the positive impact for Waiariki of attracting international enrolments in the past three to four years had been creating surpluses for the institution, which it had not been able to generate for “probably the last 20 years”.

That had meant Waiariki was able to start building a new $10 million purpose-built nursing school in 2013 and able to double the student support network across the institution for all students, said Ikin.

“That’s the catch-22, really. I know there’s a criticism out there that institutions like ours are enrolling international students purely to make money.

“I just disagree with that. If it was purely about money, we wouldn’t be getting the completion rates of our students, and we wouldn’t be getting the feedback from employees about the quality of our graduates that we’re getting.”