May 15, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Earlier this year, hundreds of international students were left in limbo after the closing of the Auckland-based Excellent Education Academy. Now comes news that the New Zealand government has returned nearly $1 million USD to the impacted students, according to a recent report from newsroom. Here’s a closer look at the situation, along with what it means for mobility.

A Million-Dollar Payout

The Excellent Education Academy was forced to close its doors in January after the New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) found both testing and assessment shortcomings within its business diploma programs.

While Education Minister Chris Hipkins initially estimated that fully refunding students would cost approximately $570,000, the tally has since reached $828,000. And it’s not done rising yet: While 176 students have applied for refunds, 20 have not yet had their refunds calculated.

A Call for Quality Assurance

With claims of sub-standard qualifications rampant in New Zealand over the past few years particularly in regards to their role in facilitating a path to residency for international student, investigations and school closures have also been on the rise. 

And while NZQA has increased its monitoring efforts, the organization has made a plea for more funding to support its work. “To be able to undertake the scale of monitoring and related follow-up that is required to assure confidence in educational outcomes across the non-university sector, additional resources are required," proposes NZQA.

Meanwhile, NZQA deputy chief executive Grant Klinkum weighed in on what international students can expect from New Zealand higher education systems in the future. For starters, he reiterates that while more funding is needed, the authority is successfully doing its job and will continue to do to. “What you will see is NZQA continuing to take steps against providers who don’t perform. NZQA won’t tolerate poor performance, as it harms what is by and large a very high performing tertiary education system,” he says.



Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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