A Tauranga international school will lose millions of dollars this year due to Covid-19 and another is grappling with the impact of a 98 per cent drop in revenue.
Both welcome funding relief from the Government but agree ''it is not a lifesaver'' while the borders remain shut.
Universities New Zealand estimates $200m would be gone this year and $400m next year - across its eight universities including the University of Waikato, which has a campus in Tauranga and are not eligible for any financial assistance.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the Government was acutely aware of the challenges the international education sector was facing and pledged $51.6m to help stabilise the industry.
He hoped the investment would cushion the blow of the unexpected loss of revenues.
Hipkins also said there could be an opportunity to ''benefit from the strong international reputation we have gained through our handling of the Covid-19 crisis''.
But Aspire2 International Tauranga campus manager Poonam Khirsariya said its student numbers had fallen from 440 at the beginning of the year to 315.
It would lose $20m from its campus sites in Auckland, Christchurch and Tauranga - this year.
''Because we are a pure international education provider, we need international students to come from offshore to restore our revenue.''
Aspire2 had drastically cut costs and its staff had made considerable sacrifices including a 20 per cent pay cut - while their suppliers and landlord ''have been wonderfully supportive''.
Khirsariya said if they qualified for the government funding ''it will definitely help but it will not be a lifesaver''.
''The lifesaver will be borders opening to allow students to come to New Zealand to study. We are ready, willing and able to provide a secure quarantine facility and process to enable this to happen but we need willingness from government to do this.''
Its students come from the from Indian sub-continent, South East Asia, South America and Europe.
Mount Maunganui Language Centre director Geoff Butler said it had faced a 98 per cent decline in revenue.
''But we will get through. We intend to fight on. We have been established for 30 years, so we are not giving up.''
New Zealand was still an attractive study destination and ''we will be here when students are able to return''.
Bay Learning Academy director Liz Signal said the devil would be in the detail in regards to access to the funding.
''It is a good start but we need to see the detail.''
She said its biggest challenge was ''keeping our students coming in, our staff on and paying our rent''.
The academy had pivoted and changed direction in the wake of Covid-19 and was now running te reo Māori and Spanish courses to stay afloat.
''We are not closing at any stage in the near future and we are trialling different things to survive but teaching English will always be our core.''
Education Tauranga/Priority One regional relationship manager Melissa Gillingham said the industry was focusing on retaining currently enrolled international students and ''providing them with the best possible experiences while they are still living and studying here''.
Recruitment of future students continues and had quickly moved into the digital space, with virtual fairs and agent webinars becoming the best way for education providers to keep their brand in market.
She said the funding support would not solve all challenges faced by schools from Covid-19 ''but is a strong signal that international education is of high value to the New Zealand school system and economy''.
Toi Ohomai student engagement and experience executive director Patrick Brus said while it would not receive funding the support for NZQA, online offshore delivery and hardship funds - would have a positive impact for our current and potential international students.
It was now focusing on onshore international student recruitment, as well as online offshore delivery to best prepare students to come to New Zealand in 2021, he said.
On the flipside the Toi Ohomai Mokoia campus has about 1150 international students up by about 10 per cent on 2019. Across all its campuses it had experienced growth of 24 per cent in international students this year compared to 2019.
Universities of NZ chief executive Chris Whelan said rather than handouts, universities wanted a clear pathway and assurance that international students would be able to come safely into the country in time for the 2021 academic year.
''The longer the delay, the more likely it is that we will lose a cohort of students who will either decide to stay in their home countries or go elsewhere for their international experience.''
University of Waikato vice-chancellor Professor Alister Jones said projections showed it would lose $21.9m this financial year.
If the borders remained closed the impact on its revenue could flow on into future years.
Hipkins said the Government would allow international students to return when it's safe to do so.
Students have their say
International students at Aspire2 in Tauranga say some of their colleagues are struggling post Covid-19 to find work and accommodation. But they are grateful to be able to study in the city. The Bay of Plenty Times asked them how they are faring and what their aspirations are for the future.
''It's all about the beautiful places, all the beautiful landscapes and the quality education. Compared to other countries New Zealand has handled Covid well. I have a dream of being a technical support person in an IT company or a manager.'' - Saurav Gurung, 21, Nepal.
''I have been studying in New Zealand since I was 16. I have a part-time job at Bayfair and when I go back to my own country I hope to work in hospitality or restaurants as I have qualifications for that.'' - Hang Tran, 20, Vietnam.
''I came in March as my brother was already here. I like that I am getting to meet people from different nationalities and cultures. It's been a really good experience and I've made lots of new friends. In the future. I'd like to be on an IT helpdesk or a IT web designer.''
Denise Dino, 20, Philippines.
''I completed higher studies in India but I wanted to go abroad and started thinking a lot about New Zealand and its hospitality courses. I think I'd like to get a job in Queenstown maybe housekeeping or front of house.''- Ghardeep Singh, India.
''I have really grown in confidence since I have been here. The tutors are really good and supportive. I have a job at the moment in a resort at Mount Maunganui and I will further pursue my career in hospitality.'' - Manisha Gurung, 21, Nepal.
Who will get what?
* $20m in support for state and state-integrated schools for rest of year for teachers and pastoral care.
* $10m for private training establishments including English language schools to buffer the sharp decline in revenue.
* $10m to develop new future-focused products and services to drive growth in our system onshore and offshore.
* $6.6m to continue the pastoral care and other activities for international students, subject to export education levy payment scrap.
* $1.5m for English language schools to deliver English language training to migrants.
* $500k to develop a quality assurance process.