There are concerns international students won't return to study in New Zealand when the border opens and will instead opt to learn in other countries.
From April, 5000 students will be allowed into the country from overseas, but some are calling for that number to be increased.
More international tertiary and school students will be allowed into the country from October, but being so late in the year those students won't start until 2023.
“It's going to take a bit of time to get back into market and convince agents and students we're serious about opening this time," said Universities NZ's Chris Whelan.
"We would've been out of the market for three years."
1News spoke with Malaysian man Muhammad Shafiqul who enrolled to study at University of Canterbury in 2020. He's yet to actually make it to New Zealand.
"Studying online has cost me mental health, sometimes I feel like studying online was all alone by myself, I didn't even get to experience university life," Shafiqul said.
The focus is now on getting future prospects to New Zealand, Education NZ's Grant McPherson said.
"It has been a really, really tough time for the sector… these announcements have really gee'd them up and they're very keen to be able to sort of rebuild their sector so yeah, really positive environment at the moment."