Male enrolments at New Zealand polytechs have dropped 41 percent in 10 years.
Just 8.6 percent of adult New Zealanders enrolled in tertiary education last year - down from 12.5 percent 10 years ago.
In the past decade the number of domestic students has been falling because more jobs have been available and the number of school leavers has dropped.
But the latest figures show the downturn in enrolments has not happened evenly, with men's enrolments dropping faster than women's.
Education Ministry figures showed 8.6 percent of people aged 15 and over enrolled in tertiary education last year, down from 12.5 percent in 2009.
The percentage of New Zealand men who enrolled in tertiary education dropped from 11.3 percent in 2009 to 7 percent last year, while the rate for women fell from 13.6 percent to 10 percent.
Polytechnics have taken the brunt of the decline in men's participation. Enrolment halved from 5.5 percent of men in 2009 to 2.8 percent last year.
Total polytechnic enrolments for men fell 37,420 - or 41 percent - in that time, while the number of women enrolling in polytechnics fell 29 percent.
The percentage of the adult population enrolling in universities fell by 20 percent over 10 years from 4.6 to 3.7 percent.
Māori had the highest enrolment rate of any ethnic group, at 15 percent last year, while Pākehā New Zealanders had the lowest at 8 percent.
Just over 36 percent of 18 and 19-year-olds enrolled in tertiary education last year, the highest participation rate of any age group.