Leading universities from the United States are launching an unprecedented bid to attract Kiwi students.

Ivy League giant Yale and other institutions such as Stanford and UCLA will be represented at a US Embassy-hosted education expo in Auckland.

Up to 1000 students and parents are expected at the event - the first of its kind in New Zealand - at the Aotea Centre on September 21.

Universities of New Zealand chair Professor Roy Crawford believes the initiative indicated a more aggressive approach by American universities to lure talented foreign students.


"In the past, the Americans could sit back and wait for overseas students to come to them," Crawford said. "Our institutions attract students from all over the world, too, but with our US counterparts launching aggressive recruitment drives in places like Asia, China and India, it is going to make it more difficult for us to attract foreign students to New Zealand."

Recruiters from about 20 top American universities will be at the inaugural expo.

"These are the people who will make decisions on each application that is sent to America for their individual institutions," a spokesman for the US Embassy said. "They can also speak on topics such as securing athletic scholarships, admission requirements, and whether a student is right for an American university."