Universities are calling for more details from the government so they can develop a quarantine model for foreign students.
They hope to bring students into the country early next year and some want a trial quarantine system run later this year.
They say they need to know before September what requirements they must adhere to in a quarantine plan.
Universities New Zealand chair Derek McCormack said talks with the government were going well until returning New Zealanders breached their isolation recently.
"The universities have got good ideas and we're in a position where we need to wait on government to engage with us on what the regulations would be to satisfy everybody that it would be safe to bring in international students."
McCormack said universities will need public trust before they can bring foreign students into the country.
But he said overseas students pose less risk than returning New Zealanders because they can be chosen from countries with few Covid-19 cases and will be deported if they break quarantine.
Foreign students are worth more than $5 billion a year to the economy and universities say they are getting more inquiries than usual from students wanting to study in in this country.