Student numbers at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic have jumped by 10 per cent year on year since 2014 while the University of Waikato only experienced a slight increase.
Figures from the polytechnic showed 5900 students were enrolled in 2014 which climbed to 6308 last year while 4013 students had enrolled for the first semester of 2016 up 10 per cent on semester one in 2015.
Bay of Plenty Polytechnic academic director Dr Amanda Torr said it had adapted to meet growing demand.
"I think our real strength comes from our willingness to listen to what people want and to adapt what we do to meet that."
The polytechnic had also started a number of new courses in 2016 including the Bachelor of Community Health with majors in public health and health and safety, and new courses in supply chain management and freight forwarding.
The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic had 83 fulltime programmes of study and 34 short courses.
The highest enrolments registered were for New Zealand Diploma in Business, Diploma in Engineering (civil, electrical, mechanical), Diploma in Marine Studies, Bachelor in Sport and Recreation and Bachelor in Creative Industries.
"While our top performing programmes are similar to previous years, we are particularly pleased to see that courses in engineering, construction management/quantity surveying, sports and recreation, marine and environmental studies, horticulture and creative industries doing really well.
"These are closely aligned to the key industries in the Bay and we have really good industry links," she said.
The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic would merge on May 1 with the Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic to deliver their services more effectively across the region, with a wider range of programmes and better access for students.
The University of Waikato data revealed its total student head count was 12,232 in 2014 compared to 12,278 last year and as of March 31, 2016 its total student numbers were 10,305. Media adviser Ann Huston said the number would change depending on B semester enrolments "so isn't fully representative of the whole year".
The top five qualifications in number of total enrolments per programme in 2015 were Bachelor of Management Studies, Bachelor of Social Sciences, Bachelor of Teaching, Bachelor of Sciences and Bachelor of Business Analysis.
Meanwhile, the new Tauranga CBD campus valued at about $50 million was expected to open in 2019. It would focus on programmes that relate to areas of regional activity, including marine, ICT and logistics.