Last updated 21 June 2017
Last updated 06/21/2017

This page has information about Student Achievement Component level 3 and above (SAC level 3 and above) student admission and enrolment, verification of student identity and eligibility, payment and refund of fees, confirmed student enrolments, and student withdrawals.


We recommend that a tertiary education organisation’s (TEO’s) admission and enrolment process for Student Achievement Component (SAC) level 3 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) includes the steps below: 

SAC level 3 and above enrolment process
Step Responsibility Action
1 TEO Provides information on qualification programmes of study (including courses) and the admission and enrolment process
2 Student Applies to the TEO for admission and enrolment (separately or together)
3 TEO Verifies the student’s identity
4 TEO Confirms the student’s eligibility to study (and eligibility for provision funded through SAC level 3 and above)
5 TEO Recognises prior learning (RPL)
6 TEO Makes a formal offer to enrol the student on a course or programme of study (less RPL)
7 Student Formally accepts the offer
8 TEO Records the enrolment
9 TEO Invoices the student for any tuition fees and charges, adjusted post RPL 
10 Student Pays any tuition fees and charges, or arranges for them to be paid
11 TEO Records payment of any tuition fees and charges
12 TEO Provides refunds for students who withdraw from courses within the defined withdrawal period for fees refund, and records these refunds
13 TEO Records the student as a confirmed student enrolment once the fees refund period has passed
14 TEO Records the student as a valid domestic enrolment once the 10% or one month (whichever is earlier) period for eligibility for TEC funding has passed

See all of the SAC level 3 and above funding conditions for requirements when enrolling students in SAC level 3 and above funded provision. This includes but is not limited to the following funding conditions.


We expect you to publish admission information before the start of each programme. This information should include: 

  • admission requirements
  • tuition fees and other course costs
  • criteria and process for selecting students for entry into restricted entry courses (if relevant)
  • criteria and process for assessing and recognising a student’s prior learning
  • criteria and process for cross-crediting courses across multiple qualifications
  • documents that a student must submit (for example, a student's academic transcript or record from another TEO)
  • the enrolment process
  • minimum attendance and code of conduct requirements
  • withdrawal requirements and process
  • student support services available, and
  • Compulsory Student Services Fee information in accordance with Condition: Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF).

There are legislative requirements for both tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and private training establishments (PTEs) to provide information about fees. See Legislative requirements on the SAC level 3 and above funding conditions page.

Inducement to enrol

An enrolment is not a valid domestic enrolment if the student has been induced to enrol. See Condition: No inducing enrolment.

We recommend that you contact us to discuss this before offering items or activities to students for enrolling with you. 


Enrolment restrictions

In accordance with section 224(5) of the Education Act 1989, you may restrict the number of eligible students who can enrol in a programme. We recommend that you determine and publish the maximum number of students who can enrol in a particular programme leading to the award of a qualification or course each year, and your criteria and processes for selecting students into the restricted entry programmes or courses.

You may:

  • set minimum entry standards for qualifications or courses
  • require a student to achieve satisfactory academic progress
  • require a student to complete another qualification first
  • set admission limits (for example, capped numbers of high cost SAC level 3 and above provision such as dentistry and aviation –  see the Eligibility page (Programme eligibility) for more information.

You must not, however, restrict enrolment in a programme for which SAC level 3 and above funding is provided on the basis of private advantage (for example, restricting enrolment to the TEO's employees only).  

See Condition: No private advantage.

Enrolment form

An enrolment form should collect all of the information that a TEO is required to report in the Single Data Return (SDR)

See Condition: Enrolment records for valid domestic enrolments and Condition: Single Data Return (SDR).

To ensure an enrolment form collects all of the necessary information, you need to be familiar with the SDR Manual to identify the information that must be collected. You may also use the Ministry of Education's generic enrolment form.

We recommend that you publish your enrolment form.

Enrolment application

To enrol in a programme leading to award of a qualification, the student needs to apply to the TEO by:

Changes to an enrolment

If a student's enrolment information changes for any reason, you must update your records to reflect the changes.  We recommend that you send updated enrolment information to the student. 

Fees refund

You must make clear to the student the period during which they may change their enrolment(s) or withdraw from a course or programme with a fees refund (less any administration charge). See Fees refund in the Withdrawals section below.

Tuition fees invoicing

We expect you to provide the student with an invoice that specifies the courses in which they have been accepted, and itemises the fees and course costs for each course the student is enrolled in.

The student then pays the fees specified in the invoice or arranges for them to be paid. 

Tuition fees receipting

After you have received payment (or confirmation that payment has been arranged), we expect you to issue a receipt to the student.

Verification of student identity

To comply with reporting requirements under section 159YD of the Act, a TEO must verify the student’s identity when the student enrols for the first time.

See Condition: Verification of student identity.

If the identity of the student is verified, the TEO can then check if the student is eligible to be a valid domestic enrolment, or is eligible to enrol as an international student (for example, by having a student visa).

Note: The TEO must sight either an original or a certified copy of the original.

  • Where an original is sighted, it must be received by the TEO in original hard copy format.
  • Where a certified copy is sighted, it may be received by the TEO in either hard copy format or digital format (photograph or scan).

In either instance the TEO remains responsible for verifying the student’s identity.

Certified copies

A certified copy is a photocopy or scanned copy that has been endorsed as a true copy of the original. To be certified, the document must:

(a)     be certified by an official of the issuing authority or a person authorised by law in New Zealand to certify documents, such as a Justice of the Peace, a lawyer, or a court official (Court Registrar or Deputy Registrar), and

(b)     have the official's signature on each page, with the name and title of the official shown clearly below his or her signature.

When additional identity verification is required

We expect a TEO to have a clear identity verification policy that informs staff and students about when additional evidence of identity is required (for example, police checks or referee checks for teaching degrees). We recommend that TEOs familiarise themselves with the Department of Internal Affairs' Evidence of Identity Standard.  

Verification of student eligibility

TEOs must ensure that students are eligible to be enrolled in SAC level 3 and above funded programmes.

See Condition: Verification of student eligibility.

For audit purposes, the TEO must retain copies of the Record of Achievement (ROA) that was used on first enrolment to determine eligibility.

Recognition of prior learning / prior achievement

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) relates to previous study or experience (prior achievement) relevant to a programme that a student is currently undertaking. RPL enables a student to proceed with his or her study without repeating aspects of the qualification previously studied, or re-learning skills the student has already achieved through past work or other experience.

It is the TEO’s responsibility to recognise each student’s prior learning and adjust the courses in the learner’s programme. A TEO must not claim SAC level 3 and above funding or student fees for recognising prior learning, or for delivering tuition where the student already has prior learning (i.e. skills and/or knowledge).

See Condition: Recognised prior learning. 

Therefore the TEO is responsible for seeing evidence of prior academic achievement using an NZQA Record of Achievement (ROA) at the time of enrolment. In addition, to see each student's full NCEA achievement and paid and unpaid credits, carry out an NCEA qualification check with NZQA. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the Qualifications Data and Data Analysis team at NZQA on 0800 697 296.

See Recognition of prior learning / prior achievement on the Funding and payments page, under Funding calculation.

Student-centred courses

Students wanting to defer their start date

You may agree to defer a student’s enrolment start date, but you should have a policy for the circumstances under which a student may defer the start date.  

Note: No SAC level 3 and above funding can be claimed until the student has started their study and the 10% or one month date for accessing funding has passed.

See Condition: Claiming SAC3+ Fund Funding.

Students wanting to accelerate their study

You should not enrol a student in an additional course or qualification unless the student has elected to exceed the annual EFTS value of the qualification to accelerate their programme of study or training. For example, a student may choose to complete a three year qualification in two and a half years by undertaking a higher than usual course load each year.

In that instance we expect the additional learning hours to be matched by an appropriate number of additional teaching hours.

Example: a qualification that is 34 weeks each year in length is generally 1.0 EFTS in value each year, which equates to 0.03 EFTS each week.

0.03 EFTS per week x 34 weeks = 1.0 EFTS.

If a student studies for 52 weeks in a year, the maximum amount of EFTS that we will fund for the student is 1.56 EFTS.

0.03 EFTS per week x 52 weeks = 1.56 EFTS.

You must ensure that such a student understands the workload that will be required of them to achieve their course and qualification completions.

See Condition: Exceeding the total annual EFTS value of the qualification.

Students enrolling concurrently with another TEO

A student may be concurrently enrolled at another TEO and therefore undertaking a high study load. While this is not prohibited, take care to identify these students and ensure that they are supported to successfully complete their courses and qualifications. 

Non-New Zealand citizens on a student visa

Enrolment of international students

If a student is an international student, the TEO should confirm that the student is eligible to attend the TEO as an international student. You can do this by either:

  • sighting the student's passport and conducting a VisaView check (as above)
  • sighting the student's passport with:
    • a current student visa label or visa approval notification (as above) (or in the case of a pathway student visa, the letter from Immigration New Zealand specifying the TEOs and courses the student is eligible to attend)
    • a current work visa label or visa approval notification with conditions that allow the student to study (this relates to an international student who has a practical component in their study programme)
    • a current work or visitor visa label or visa approval notification if the student is enrolling in a course of less than 12 weeks. Please see Immigration New Zealand's website for more information about work and visitor’s visas.

Condition: Enrolment records for valid domestic enrolments details the enrolment records to be kept for a SAC level 3 and above funded student. We recommend that a TEO keep these records for its international students as well, in order to comply with the record-keeping requirements for TEIs in section 225 of the Education Act 1989, and for PTEs in section 236A of the Act. 

See International students on our Eligibility page.

Visa approval notification 

Immigration New Zealand (part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) is moving towards the use of label-less visas.  The visa is recorded electronically in Immigration New Zealand’s system, so some students will not have a visa label in their passport. Instead, a label-less visa approval notification will have been sent by email or by letter to the student.

Students with label-less visas may therefore present their visa approval notification as evidence of their visa when they enrol with a TEO, and the TEO may choose to use VisaView to verify this.


The TEO can use Immigration New Zealand's VisaView online enquiry system to check whether a student who is not a New Zealand citizen can study with them in New Zealand.

Please see the “VisaView Guide for Education Providers (PDF, 641 KB)” for more information. You can also contact Immigration New Zealand if you have questions.

To comply with Condition: Enrolment records for valid domestic enrolments, we recommend that you download and retain the VisaView record. 

Confirmed student enrolments

From 2017 Condition: Confirmed Student Enrolments applies only to programme, course and training scheme enrolments where tuition fees apply. It ensures that we gain a wider understanding of TEO enrolments by including enrolments where the TEO receives fees from a student and does not refund the fees after a withdrawal.

The condition requires a TEO to report an enrolment where a student withdraws after the fee refund withdrawal period, but before the enrolment becomes eligible for TEC funding. 

The requirement does not apply to:

  • fees free enrolments (course, training scheme and/or programme) or
  • enrolments where the student has:
    • not paid the fees by the due date/date committed to, and/or
    • received a full refund of fees (course, training scheme and/or programme) less any applicable administration fee.

From the August 2017 Single Data Return (SDR), all SAC level 3 and above and SAC level 3 and 4 competitive funded TEOs must report all confirmed student enrolments with a programme start date on or after 1 January 2017.

The confirmed student enrolments must be reported in the SDR under source of funding (SoF) code 31 (if the student had not withdrawn, the enrolments would be reported under SoF 01 for SAC level 3 and above, or SoF 32 for SAC level 3 and 4 competitive).

The diagram below outlines the application of the reporting requirement.

 SAC3+ and SAC 3+4 course programme


If, after a student has paid the fees, the TEO decides to pay for the student's fees through a scholarship, the student remains a confirmed student enrolment.

Educational performance indicators (EPIs)

Confirmed student enrolment data (SoF code 31) will be included in EPI calculations from 2017.

Course withdrawal, programme withdrawal, and fees refunds

Course withdrawal, programme withdrawal, and fees refund practice can determine whether or not an enrolment must be reported as a confirmed student enrolment under SoF code 31. Importantly, these practices can differ for private training establishments (PTEs) and tertiary education institutions (TEIs).

Withdrawing by programme and retaining fees

For some TEOs, mainly PTEs, when a student withdraws from study the TEO may withdraw them from the whole programme (or qualification) and retain all of the fees for that programme. This is done even though the start date may not have been reached for all course enrolments making up the programme.

TEOs that withdraw students by programme, and retain tuition fees for courses which the student did not start or participate in for 10% or one month of the course (whichever is earlier), have to report these course confirmed student enrolments under SoF code 31.

Withdrawing by course and retaining fees

For other TEOs, when a student withdraws from study the TEO withdraws the student from courses within the programme that the student did not start or participate in for 10% or one month (whichever is earlier). The TEO retains fees only for the courses where the enrolment became a valid course enrolment reported under SoF code 01 or SoF code 32. TEOs that withdraw students by course and refund their fees in full do not have to report those enrolments as, at the point of fees refund or waiver, they cease to be confirmed student enrolments.


Diagram 1

The tuition fees required to be refunded to the student will differ depending on whether the TEO withdraws students by course or by programme.

  • If the TEO withdraws students by course, the student will receive a refund of the tuition fees for courses 3, 4 and 5. This is because the fees refund period for courses 3, 4 and 5 has not passed. Refer to Withdrawals below.
  • If the TEO withdraws students by programme, no refund of tuition fees is required as the fees refund period for the programme has passed. If no refund (less any administration charges) is given to the student, course enrolments for courses 3, 4 and 5 will be need to be reported under SoF code 31. Alternatively, if the TEO fully refunds the student for courses 3, 4 and 5 (less any administration charges), these courses do not need to be reported. 

SAC 3+ diagram 1

Diagram 2

The TEO is not required to refund tuition fees regardless of whether students are withdrawn by course or by programme. This is because the fees refund period has passed for both programme and courses. These courses would not need to be reported under SoF code 31 and would instead be reported under the relevant SoF code for a valid domestic enrolment (e.g. SoF code 01 or SoF code 32), as per the current practice. 

SAC 3+ diagram 2

Diagram 3

This shows an enrolment where there are five courses that all have the same start and end date. In this instance the fees refund period is the same for all of the courses as well as the programme. As the withdrawal date has been reached for both the programme and the course, the TEO is not required to refund the student any tuition fees regardless of whether the TEO withdraws students by course or programme.  For courses where the student participated for at least 10% or one month (whichever is earlier), the enrolment is reported under SoF code 01 or 32.

SAC 3+ diagram 3

Requesting tuition fees payment from StudyLink

If the student has arranged to pay the fees through the Student Loan Scheme, you should:

  • get the student's agreement to authorise the payment from their loan account
  • send a “Verification of Study” to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) (StudyLink)
  • receive confirmation that StudyLink has accepted the student's loan application, and
  • inform the student in writing of arrangements concerning payment.

When requesting tuition fees from StudyLink ensure that the fees payment requested is for the:

  • student
  • reported programme(s), and
  • study period(s) listed in the ‘Verification of Study’ (VoS) response. 

Tuition fees requested from StudyLink, and EFTS the learner is enrolled in, must reflect the ‘course of study’ that the student is required to pay for and study after both RPL and previously awarded credits have been recognised and removed from the student’s programme of study or training (i.e. not the tuition fee and EFTS for the whole programme). 

Note: Payment of full tuition fees may not be requested from StudyLink and subsequently refunded to the student after RPL.

Pilot training

If you have been allocated funding for aviation provision that includes an in-flight training component (pilot training), you must supply StudyLink with the correct student enrolment information through the Verification of Study (VoS) system.

You must also ensure that:

  • annual student loan fee borrowing for any pilot training student that is studying full-time does not exceed $35,000 per EFTS; and
  • where a pilot training student is studying part-time, annual student loan fee borrowing does not exceed the proportion of $35,000 that is represented by the proportion of an EFTS course load that is being undertaken by the student. 

Students with unpaid fees

A student is only a confirmed student enrolment when they have paid or committed to pay fees and the fees refund period has passed.

If the student does not pay the fees as they committed, then they cease to be a confirmed student enrolment or a valid domestic enrolment. SAC funding must not be claimed for them.

See Condition: Refunding fees for Withdrawals.


A “withdrawal” is when a student ceases to participate in a course, programme or training scheme (regardless of whether they have been refunded any fees), either:

  • by providing notice to your organisation that they wish to withdraw participation, or
  • as a result of non-attendance or non-participation for any reason.

Setting a withdrawal date

TEOs need to apply a “withdrawal date” to any enrolment in the SDR that meets the criteria above.

A TEO will not be able to receive funding for an enrolment with a withdrawal date that occurs before 10% or one month of the course has passed completed (rounded up to the nearest whole day), whichever is the earlier.

See Condition: Claiming SAC3+ Fund Funding.

Disengaged students who have not formally withdrawn

A student may have disengaged from the programme or training scheme but not have formally withdrawn. For example, they may not have attended a face-to-face course or not logged in for on-line learning.

Determine at the earliest opportunity if a disengaged student is withdrawing from a course to allow the student to receive fee refunds.

It is in the best interests of the TEO to determine this as early as possible. For example, before the fees refund withdrawal date has passed because, if the enrolment continues to be reported and is unsuccessful, it will be counted as a course non-completion for the calculation of educational performance indicators (EPIs).

Advising StudyLink and other parties of student withdrawal

See the following conditions.

When a student in receipt of a loan and/or allowance withdraws from a programme, the date of withdrawal that the TEO must notify to StudyLink is the date TEO determined that the student had ceased to participate (e.g. for non-attendance or non-participation).  For example:

First date of non-attendance Date the TEO determined that the student had ceased to participate Withdrawal date the TEO advises to StudyLink, and reports in the SDR Date by when the TEO must have advised StudyLink of the withdrawal
6 March 2017 10 March 2017 10 March 2017 17 March 2017

Withdrawal date and student fees refund period

See Condition: Confirmed student enrolments. This only applies to programmes/courses where fees are compulsory.

TEOs need to apply a fees refund period. If a student who is a confirmed student enrolment withdraws from a course or programme within this period, they must receive a refund of fees (or waiver of fee payment) and course costs (minus any administration fees). The refund period requirements are different for private training establishments (PTEs) and tertiary education institutions (TEIs).

See Condition: Withdrawal of enrolments.

Fees refund

Process fees refunds in a timely manner for the student. 

If a TEO refunds all or some of a student’s fees, the TEO must refund the student in the manner in which the original fee was paid.  This could be either to StudyLink, if the student paid using the Student Loan Scheme, or directly to the student.

No fees refund

A student who has withdrawn from their course (formally or informally) or been expelled after the fees refund period has passed, and who has not received a fees refund, remains a confirmed student enrolment for the purposes of reporting to us, and must be included in the SDR.

Part fees refund

If a TEO decides to refund some of a student’s fees after the fees refund period has passed (e.g. on compassionate grounds) they remain a confirmed student enrolment for the purposes of reporting to us, and must be included in the SDR. 

Full fees refund

If a TEO decides to refund all of a student’s fees after the fees refund period has passed (e.g. on compassionate grounds) they cease to be a confirmed student enrolment and should not be reported in the SDR.


The above also applies when the TEO decides to pay for the student's fees through a scholarship.