Victoria University is becoming the campus of choice for South Island teenagers who are breaking with tradition by not studying in Christchurch.
Queen Charlotte College principal Tom Parsons said the number of his Marlborough school leavers choosing the capital had increased by 20 per cent since earthquakes rattled the south.
Parents did not feel comfortable sending their children to the garden city, he said.
"Because parents are predominantly still the credit card- holder with these kids, they're a little reluctant about sending them to Christchurch, mainly because of safety issues and unease.
"A 50-50 split between Wellington and Christchurch has now turned in to 70-30 in favour of Wellington," he said.
The shift of pupils to the capital had kicked in after the first Christchurch earthquake in 2010, Mr Parsons said.
"We can really identify the pattern and more students have been interested in the open days at Victoria since then."
Victoria University Student Association president Rory McCourt said it was more than likely that demand from southern students was contributing to the changing face of the capital's pricey flatting scene.
Bidding wars at central city flats are pushing more people to the suburbs and post-graduate students from Canterbury University are also heading out of town.
"We've noticed a number of older post-graduate students avoiding trying to live near campus and heading straight to the suburbs," he said.
Victoria University's director of student academic services, Pam Thorburn, said Wellington had seen an increase in enrolments from Canterbury, Nelson and Marlborough regions.
"In 2012, about 100 more students enrolled at Victoria than in 2011," she said.
While the earthquake has had some impact on enrolments, Ms Thorburn said on-going demand for courses offered by Victoria University had also played a part.
- The Dominion Post