Eligibility – 2016

Eligibility – 2016

Last updated 9 February 2017
Last updated 02/09/2017

We are in the process of updating these fund pages for 2017.

For the 2017 conditions for SAC level 3 and above funding (SAC3+), refer to:

Generic conditions that relate to all on-Plan funds

Specific conditions that relate to this fund only


This page sets out the eligibility criteria for Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding for provision at level 3 and above (SAC3+).

It outlines TEO eligibility, programme eligibility and student eligibility.

TEO eligibility

To be eligible to receive funding for Student Achievement Component (SAC) for provision at level 3 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) (for this website page, referred to as SAC3+), a tertiary education organisation (TEO) must be:

  • a university
  • an institute of technology and polytechnic (ITP)
  • a wānanga
  • a private training establishment (PTE), or
  • a rural education activities programme (REAP) provider.

The TEO must be quality assured by:

See Condition SAC3+002 and Condition SAC3+003 for more information. 

Programme eligibility

To be eligible for SAC3+ funding, courses must be:

  • part of a programme that:
    • leads to the award of a qualification at level 3 to 10 on the NZQF
    • if offered by a PTE, has 40 credits or more
    • has been quality assured by either NZQA or Universities New Zealand, as appropriate, or
  • part of a training scheme that:
    • leads to an award that is not a qualification listed on the NZQF
    • has been quality assured by either NZQA or Universities New Zealand, as appropriate.

Programme eligibility – general restrictions

Restrictions on SAC3+ funding

SAC3+ funding is not available for some types of courses, including health and safety and regulatory compliance learning.

See Condition SAC3+006 for the full details of ineligible programmes and qualifications.

Short Awards, Certificates of Proficiency and Certificates of Personal Interest

We must restrict the availability of short awards, certificates of personal interest (CPIs), and certificates of proficiency (COPs) that are funded from SAC3+.  This means that TEOs must limit their SAC3+ funded equivalent full-time students (EFTS) for these types of certificates and awards.  For more information, see Condition SAC3+010.

COPs and CPIs are intended to cater for specific individual needs; not for on-going or regular programmes of study. 

A COP is an individual programme of study that consists of courses or unit standards selected from an approved qualification. COPs are only delivered at tertiary education institutions (TEIs). The TEI should check with the appropriate quality assurance body regarding any additional quality assurance arrangements relating to COPs. A student enrolled in an under-graduate COP may be eligible to access a student allowance and the Student Loan Scheme. A student enrolled in a post-graduate COP may be eligible to access the Student Loan Scheme. 

See Studylink's website for more information.

A CPI is an informal programme of individual study that consists of select courses or unit standards where the student does not intend to complete a wider programme of study or training. Usually the CPI is attained through attendance, rather than through assessment.  

High-cost provision

There are funding restrictions on some types of high-cost provision. These may be in the form of student places or EFTS units. We must ensure that SAC3+ funding is not used to fund provision above the following annual caps:

  • Aviation (qualifications that include an in-flight training component): 450 EFTS
  • Dentistry (intermediate) year 1 intake: 60 EFTS
  • Medical undergraduate year 1 intake: 539 EFTS
  • Specialist large animal science: total enrolment over all years: 70 EFTS
  • Veterinary science year 1 intake: 100 EFTS.
  • To ensure that these caps are not breached, a TEO that receives SAC3+ funding for high-cost provision must not exceed the number of EFTS approved through its Investment Plan for that type of provision.


TEOs also have limits on the amount Aviation students can borrow through the Student Loan Scheme each year. See Condition SAC3+029 for more information.


Within the cap for year 1 Dentistry (intermediate) EFTS, 10 of the 60 EFTS must be filled by students of rural origin.

A TEO that receives SAC3+ funding specified for Dentistry students of rural origin as part of its Investment Plan funding approval must only use that funding for students of rural origin. 

Student eligiblity

Confirmed student enrolment

TEOs must provide the TEC with information about each “confirmed student enrolment”. A confirmed student enrolment means that if fees apply:

  • the student and TEO have entered into an enrolment or tuition contract or arrangement and the student has paid or committed to pay the fees, and
  • the period during which the student is entitled to withdraw from a course, programme or training scheme and receive a full refund of fees (less any applicable administration fee) has passed.

If fees do not apply, a confirmed student enrolment means:

  • the student and a TEO have entered into an enrolment or tuition contract or arrangement, and
  • the student has not withdrawn from a course, programme or training scheme by the withdrawal date (as specified in Withdrawal of enrolments below).

See Condition SDR001 and Condition SDR001 (PTE) for more information. 

Valid domestic enrolments

As well as being a confirmed student enrolment, to claim SAC3+ funding for students, each student must be a "valid domestic student". The amount of SAC3+ funding that a TEO consumes is determined by the number of valid domestic students enrolled at the TEO, and the courses in which they are enrolled. The number of valid domestic student enrolments is measured in EFTS and only valid domestic enrolments are able to attract SAC3+ funding.

For the purposes of calculating the amount of SAC3+ funding, a “valid domestic enrolment” refers to the enrolment of a student who is:

An international student involved in postgraduate research

A student is considered to be involved in international postgraduate research if he or she is enrolled in a programme of study at level 9 or higher on the NZQF (masters level or higher) and which is wholly research (for example, a 120 point thesis).

For international students, there are a number of different scenarios for whether the student is eligible to attract SAC3+ funding or not, and the rate at which they attract SAC3+ funding. See the numeric funding code on the Qualifications and courses page.

The table below illustrates the funding each type of student would attract: 


Example of programme type

SAC3+ funding category

Student Fee type

Domestic student (eg NZ citizen)

Taught masters



Domestic student (eg NZ citizen)

Research-based masters



Domestic student (eg NZ citizen)

Ph.D./other doctoral programme



International student

Taught masters

NONE (not eligible)


International student

Research-based masters



International student

Ph.D.(becomes defined as a domestic student)



International student

doctoral programme (not Ph.D.)



See Appendix 14 of the SDR manual (International Ph.D. Policy and Reporting) for details about reporting an on-shore international Ph.D.  

Students aged under 16 years old

A student aged under 16 years old at the time that the programme of study or training begins is considered a valid domestic enrolment if:

  • the TEO is satisfied that the student is capable of completing the academic requirements of the programme
  • the TEO has ensured that the student has a school exemption certificate from the Ministry of Education
  • the student is enrolled in secondary school at the time the programme of study or training starts and the TEO has ensured that the student's principal has signed a letter that approves the programme and specifies that:
    • the student is not required to be absent from school during school hours; or
    • if the student is required to be absent from school during school hours for more than five hours per week, the school will seek reduced funding for the student
  • the student is home schooled at the time that the programme of study or training starts and the TEO has ensured that the parent who is primarily responsible for the home schooling has signed a letter that approves the study or training.

Students studying outside New Zealand

The funding mechanism specifies that to be a valid domestic enrolment the student must be studying in New Zealand. A student studying outside New Zealand is considered a valid domestic enrolment if:

  • the student is:
    • enrolled in a course(s) leading to the award of a recognised qualification offered by a New Zealand TEO, and
    • enrolled at a New Zealand campus of a New Zealand TEO, and
  • the student is not:
    • resident overseas and enrolled at an overseas campus established by a New Zealand TEO
    • a domestic student who is travelling overseas and enrolled with an overseas tertiary education provider, or
    • resident overseas and receiving tuition primarily through an overseas site of a TEO, regardless of the site at which the student is enrolled.

Students who have not paid or committed to pay fees

A student is not a valid domestic enrolment if they have not paid fees.

See the information on the Enrolment page on fees payment and withdrawals.  

Invalid domestic enrolments – inducements

Even if the student meets the criteria above, the enrolment is not valid if it has been secured by way of an inducement.  An inducement is where a student is motivated to enrol at a TEO by the prospect of a physical item, financial benefit, or personal advantage not directly related to the attainment of that qualification. See Condition SAC3+019 and information on the Enrolment page for further definitions about scholarships and inducements.

We recommend that TEOs discuss with us before offering items or activities to students for enrolling with them.  

Recording and reporting of valid domestic enrolments and confirmed student enrolments

TEOs are required to keep records about students and enrolments.  See the Enrolment page for more information, and these Conditions:

The TEC and the Ministry of Education obtain information about all confirmed students, whether or not fees are charged, and regardless of the funding source. 

For more information, please see Condition SDR001 and Condition SDR001 (PTE).

If you have any doubts as to whether a student should be included in the SDR, please contact the Sector Helpdesk.