Qualifications and courses

Qualifications and courses

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

To deliver a programme funded through Student Achievement Component level 3 and above (SAC level 3 and above), approval from us must be obtained for both the qualification and the courses comprising the programme that leads to the qualification. 

A TEO must only use SAC level 3 and above funding for approved qualifications (see Condition: Programmes and Qualifications).

Each qualification, and the courses within the qualification, must be submitted to us to be approved for access to SAC level 3 and above funding.

Please review the Loan Entry Threshold (LET) table (in the Approving a qualification for student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme section below) for information about ensuring qualifications can be approved for student loans and allowances.

Qualification and course approval is carried out through our section of the Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) website. Through this website each TEO:

  • registers and maintains qualifications and courses for funding
  • updates qualification, course and delivery site details, and
  • submits its Single Data Return (SDR).

The STEO User Guide (PDF, 7.5 Mb) explains how approvals are obtained.

Qualifications and courses are assigned an equivalent full-time student (EFTS) factor as part of the approval process.

Note: When classifying courses within the TEC section of the STEO website, the system will return a funding rate based on the current SAC classifications.

Process for approving a qualification for access to funding

When submitting a new qualification, we recommend that you:

  • consider whether a qualification aligns with:
    • the strategic direction outlined in your organisation's Investment Plan
    • the Tertiary Education Strategy
  • consider whether the qualification meets the eligibility criteria for SAC level 3 and above funding, and
  • complete external quality assurance body requirements in a timely manner (this will ensure that each student who is enrolled in the approved qualification will have timely access to student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme, if eligible).

When you submit the qualification through the Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) website, ensure that you provide the:

  • approval documentation from the external quality assurance body, and
  • the information specified below.

Please see the SDR Manual for more information.

When we receive the information, we will decide whether or not the qualification meets the eligibility criteria to access SAC level 3 and above funding.  

Private training establishments

If we approve the qualification as eligible for funding, you need to request a minor Plan amendment to add the qualification to your SAC level 3 and above mix of provision (MoP). We will release your MoP so you can revise and submit the revised MoP to us for approval.

Enrolling learners in a newly approved qualification

You can start enrolling learners in the programme leading to the new qualification, and access funding, after the qualification has been:

  • listed in your SAC level 3 and above MoP with regions of delivery and EFTS, and
  • we have approved the MoP.

Information about qualifications

To enable us to determine whether or not to approve a qualification as eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding, we require the following information when the qualification is submitted for approval through the STEO website:

  • the provider code (EDUMIS number) of the TEO seeking the approval
  • if the qualification leads to a certificate or diploma listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), the qualification code used on the NZQF
  • the title of the proposed qualification
  • the number of learning hours each week in the qualification 
  • the number of full-time teaching weeks each year required to complete the qualification
  • the equivalent full-time student (EFTS) value of the qualification calculated using the following methods:
    • credits
    • learning hours
    • full-time weeks, and
  • the approval documents from the relevant quality assurance body.

We will not backdate approval for access to student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme. Therefore, we require this information from you at least four weeks before the start of tuition for the qualification. This will ensure that each student who is enrolled in an approved course or programme can access financial support if eligible.

A detailed description of the required information is set out below.

TEO/Provider code

You must give us the four-digit code assigned by the Ministry of Education to uniquely identify your TEO. A list of the four-digit code assigned to each TEO is set out in Appendix 1 to the SDR Manual.

Qualification code

Before we can approve a qualification as eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding, you must supply the qualification code.  The format of the qualification code is alphanumeric, usually two letters followed by four numbers.  The two letters are a standard code, for example NZ (New Zealand Certificate), ND (National Diploma), or PC (programme code – for local qualifications).

If you intend to offer a New Zealand Certificate, National Certificate or National Diploma listed on the NZQF, use the NZQF code for the qualification for all references to the qualification. 

Title of qualification

You must give us the title of the qualification for which you are seeking approval for funding.

Duration

You must provide us with information about the duration of the programme, specifically the learning hours and full time teaching weeks.

Learning hours

A learning hour (or a full-time week of learning) includes:

  • lecturer and tutor contact hours, including workshops and tutorials
  • tests and assignments
  • supervised practical placements
  • study time
  • self-directed learning with tutorial support available, and
  • exam periods.

In relation to the number of learning hours in the qualification, you must give us all of the following information:

  • the number of teaching hours each week
  • the number of hours each week of work experience
  • the number of self-directed learning hours
  • the total number of learning hours each week
  • the total number of learning hours in each year
  • the number of years it will take to complete the qualification
  • the total number of learning hours in the qualification (number of learning hours in each year multiplied by the number of years).

Full-time teaching weeks

A full-time week of learning is known as a teaching or tuition week (and includes the type of learning outlined above).

In relation to the number of teaching weeks in each year of the qualification, you must give us all of the following information:

  • the number of full-time equivalent teaching weeks
  • the number of weeks of recess in each year
  • the total number of full-time teaching weeks and recess weeks in each year (FTE gross)
  • the number of credits on the NZQF contained in the qualification, and
  • the number of credits that a student must achieve each year to complete the qualification.

We generally will not approve a qualification for funding that is longer than 34 weeks in a year, although we may fund an individual student’s enrolment for more than 1.0 EFTS in a year.  See Accelerated Learning on the Enrolment page for more information.

EFTS value of the qualification

We require the EFTS value of each qualification in order to determine whether a qualification is eligible to access SAC level 3 and above funding. See Condition: Assigning EFTS values to qualifications.

The EFTS value of each qualification must be specified to not more than four decimal places. The EFTS value determines the workload involved in each qualification and is required so that we can appropriately fund you to deliver the qualification.

This information must be determined using the following methods:

  • credits
  • learning hours, and
  • full-time weeks.

Each of the three methods should produce the same result. If they do, we can be confident that a student who is studying for a qualification is undertaking a normal and reasonable workload.

Each method is set out in more detail below.

Credits

A credit measures the average amount of learning that is required to complete the qualification or part of the qualification.

The EFTS value can be calculated using the credits method by dividing the number of credits for the qualification by 120 (the standard number of credits that equate to one full-time year of study).

Example: If a qualification has 60 credits: 60 divided by 120 = 0.5 EFTS.

Learning hours

The EFTS value can be calculated using the learning hours method by dividing the qualification's total learning hours by 1,200 (the standard number of learning hours that equates to a full-time year of study).

Example: If the total learning hours for one semester in a qualification is 600 hours: 600 divided by 1,200 = 0.5 EFTS.

Full-time weeks

The EFTS value can be calculated using the full-time weeks method, by dividing the length of tuition for the qualification in weeks by 34 (the standard number of weeks that equate to one full-time equivalent teaching or tuition year).

Example: If the qualification has a length of 17 weeks: 17 divided by 34 = 0.5 EFTS. 

EFTS value when qualification has strands

A qualification may have a range of options or electives with variable credit combinations. These are called strands. Each strand is likely to have a different total EFTS value.

If a qualification has two or more strands, you should determine the EFTS value for each strand. We require the EFTS value of the strand that has the highest EFTS value for our calculations.

You must calculate the EFTS factor of each course in the strand in order to calculate the EFTS value of the strand. The EFTS factor of a course can be determined in the following ways:

  • dividing the course credits for a qualification that has up to 120 credits by 120
  • for a qualification that has more than 120 credits and we have agreed to fund more than 1 EFTS per learner per year (see Condition: Limit on EFTS values for qualifications), dividing the course credits by the credit value of the qualification, or
  • for a qualification that has more than 120 credits, and we have not agreed to fund more than 1 EFTS per learner per year (see Condition: Limit on EFTS values for qualifications), by dividing the course credits by 120.

Example: 

Calculating the EFTS value of a qualification with strands
Strand 1 Credits Course EFTs factor Strand 2 Credits Course EFTS factor
Course 1 15 0.1250 Course 1 15 0.1250
Course 2 15 0.1250 Course 2 15 0.1250
Course 3 26 0.2167 Course 3 26 0.2167
Course 4 10 0.0833 Course 6 10 0.0833
Course 5 6 0.0500 Course 7 5 0.0417
      Course 8 4 0.0333
Totals 72  0.6000   75 0.6250

In this example, if we approve the qualification for funding, it will be approved as 75 credits as this is the credit value of the longest strand.  The EFTS value of the qualification is therefore 0.625 (75 credits/120 = 0.625 EFTS). 

If an approved qualification in STEO has a value of 1.0 EFTS but more than 120 credits, the credit value of the longest strand is used to determine the course EFTS factor for each strand.  This ensures that courses common to both strands have the same EFTS factor.

Example: In this example, the credit value of 150 is used to divide the credits, not 120:

Calculating course EFTS factors in a qualification of more than 120 credits in one year with strands  
Strand 1  Credits  Course EFTS factor Strand 2   Credits Course EFTS factor 
 Course 1  30  0.2000  Course 1  30  0.2000
 Course 2  30  0.2000  Course 2  30  0.2000
 Course 3  52  0.3467  Course 3  52  0.3467
 Course 4  20  0.1333  Course 6  20  0.1333
 Course 5  12  0.0800  Course 7  10  0.0667
       Course 8  8  0.0533
 Totals  144  0.9600    150  1.0000

Making a change to a qualification

If you make a significant change to a qualification, you must meet the requirements of Condition: Making changes to qualifications.

Doctoral programmes

We will only fund up to a maximum of four EFTS for a doctoral programme. Any further delivery must be reported as unfunded delivery. 

See Condition: Use of SAC3+ Fund Funding for doctoral study.

Integrated programmes

An integrated programme of study may lead to two qualifications, such as a double degree. For an integrated programme of study, the EFTS value is based on the total credits, less any overlap between the two qualifications.

If there are a variety of approaches, you need to negotiate the EFTS value with us.

Extra courses within a qualification

If a course within a qualification is optional, it will usually be eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding. In these circumstances, a student’s enrolment may generate more than 1 EFTS in a 12-month period.

For example, a student takes an:

  • additional course in an academic year towards a qualification that requires more than one year of study, or
  • optional summer school course towards the qualification.

If an extra course becomes the norm for all students undertaking a qualification, we will consider the change to be a significant change to a qualification, which requires approval from the relevant quality assurance body, and the TEC (see below).

Quality assurance requirements

See Condition: Organisation eligibility for quality assurance requirements for TEOs to be eligible to access SAC level 3 and above funding.

In addition, to be eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding, a course must be part of a programme or training scheme that has been quality assured. For universities, the quality assurance body is the Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP). For all other TEOs that receive SAC level 3 and above funding, it is the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

To determine whether to approve a qualification for SAC level 3 and above funding as part of your mix of provision in your Investment Plan we require evidence that the appropriate quality assurance body has approved the programme leading to award of the qualification.

Under section 139AE of the Education Act 1989, the New Zealand Teachers Council is responsible for conducting, in conjunction with quality assurance agencies, approvals of teacher education programmes and qualifications that lead to teacher registration.

Defining a qualification

You must give us the following information that defines the qualification:

  • the qualification award category (recognised qualifications have an award category code - refer to Appendix 9 of the SDR Manual)
  • the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) level of the qualification (refer to Appendix 9 of the SDR Manual)
  • the level of the qualification on the NZQF (refer to Appendix 9 of the SDR Manual)
  • the outcome of completing the qualification (for example, whether the qualification is designed to lead the student directly into the labour market)
  • the New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED) of the qualification (refer to Appendix 8 of the SDR Manual), and
  • whether distance learning is available.

 

Information about courses

Before an external quality assurance body approves a programme leading to a qualification, and before we will approve a qualification as eligible to access SAC level 3 and above funding, you must disaggregate the qualification into component courses. 

You must give us all of the following information about each component course in the qualification:

  • provider code
  • course code
  • course title
  • qualification code
  • course classification
  • NZSCED field of study
  • level of the course on the NZQF
  • number of credits of the course
  • funding category of the course
  • EFTS factor of the course
  • if the course is part of a pre-service teacher education qualification, the stage of the course
  • course tuition fee (if any), including compulsory course costs
  • whether the course has an internet based learning component
  • whether the course is eligible for PBRF
  • tuition fee that will be paid by international fee-paying students who are enrolled in the course
  • whether the course has embedded literacy and numeracy skill development in the provision.

The key fields required for SDR submission are detailed below.

TEO/Provider code (INSTIT)

The four-digit code assigned by the Ministry of Education to uniquely identify each TEO.

Course code (COURSE)

The internal code for the course. The code must uniquely identify the specific course regardless of the period, location and year in which it is taught.

Course title (CTITLE)

This is the title that you will use to prescribe or publish the course.

The title of the course should indicate the content of the course as the title is used by the Ministry of Education and us to ensure that similar courses are classified in a like manner.

Qualification code (QUAL)

For information on qualification codes see Information about qualifications above.

Course classification (CLASS)

Before a qualification can be approved for SAC level 3 and above funding, we require information about the classification of each course that forms part of the qualification.  See Condition: Assigning course classifications.

You are required to classify your courses using the current 1-39 Classification Prescription available in the Course Classification Guide for 2017 (PDF, 604 Kb).

The classification tables are included in the SAC provision at levels 3 and above on the NZQF funding mechanism.  A summary is provided below.

  • At least 90% of the content or subject matter must fit into the classification that you have assigned to a course. We have provided some additional information about the 38 course classifications in the Course Classification Guide for 2017 (PDF, 604 Kb). When classifying a course, you should carefully consider the notes beside each classification and the content of the course. 
  • The classification of a course may also depend on the qualification level. 
  • To ensure that each course is classified correctly, we recommend that you choose a name of a course that correctly describes the major content of the course, and contact us if you are not sure about an appropriate classification. 

Note: Courses in some disciplines are funded at different rates depending on the year of study. For example, courses at years 2 and 3 of an undergraduate Medicine degree are classified as #15. Years 4, 5 and 6, however, have a clinical training element and therefore are classified differently, as #37. A postgraduate Medicine course is classified as #15.

Classification Description
#01 Agriculture; Horticulture
#02 Architecture; Quantity Surveying
#03 Arts; Advanced Studies for Teachers; Health Therapies; Humanities; Languages; Social Sciences
#03.1 Osteopathy; Acupuncture
#04 Business; Accountancy; Office Systems/Secretarial; Management
#05.2 General Education
#06 Computer Science
#07 Dentistry
#11 Engineering; Technology
#11.1 Priority Engineering
#11.2 Pilot Training
#12 Fine Arts; Design
#13 Health Sciences (excluding classifications #07, #15, and #17)
#13.3 Optometry
#14 Law
#15 Medicine (excluding intermediate/first year)
#16 Music and Performing Arts
#17 Health-Related Professions
#17.3 Dental Therapy
#18 Science
#19.1 Teaching: Early Childhood Education
#19.2

Teaching: Primary

#20 Teaching: Secondary
#21 Trades 1
#22 Trades 2
#22.1 Vocational Training for Industry
#23 Veterinary
#23.3 Veterinary Science Undergraduate (Years 3, 4, and 5)
#24 Nursing
#25 Medical Imaging
#27 Midwifery (3 year)
#28 Occupational Therapy
#29 Physiotherapy
#30 Medical Radiation Therapy
#31 Pharmacy Professionals
#32 Speech Language Therapy
#33 Medical Laboratory Science 
#34 Clinical Psychology
#35 Audiology
#36 Dietetics
#37 Medicine Undergraduate (Years 4, 5, and 6)
#38 Foreign-Going Nautical
#39 Specialist Large Animal Science

Postgraduate teaching qualifications

A course in a postgraduate teaching qualification should be classified as #03, unless each course in the qualification:

  • is designed for students who have a pre-service teaching qualification recognised by the New Zealand Teachers Council
  • contains a practical component of 50% or more at NZQF level 8 (or equivalent), that is undertaken in the early childhood, primary, or secondary sectors, and
  • involves on-going expert supervision.

A course that meets these criteria may be classified as #19.1, #19.2 or #20.

New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED)

The NZSCED is a subject-based classification system that contributes to international reporting, fees approval, and in some cases may be used to describe the mix of provision in your Investment Plan.

All courses must be classified using the NZSCED classifications on a ‘best fit’ basis according to the predominant subject matter of the course. This means that the chosen NZSCED classification reflects the largest part of the subject matter of a course.

A full list of NZSCED classifications is provided in the SDR Manual Appendices

For more information on NZSCED classifications, see the Education Counts website.

Level on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQFLEVEL)

This is for the level of the credits on the NZQF contained in a course or paper that contributes to the qualification.  For more information on the NZQF see the NZQA website.

Credit (CREDIT)

The number of credits on the NZQF contained in a course or paper that contributes to the qualification.

Funding category (CATEGORY)

See Condition: Assigning course to a funding category.

The funding category includes:

  • an alphabetic code that relates to the course classification, and
  • a numeric code that reflects the level of study.  

Alphabetic code

The alphabetic code (based on course classification) is used to record SAC level 3 and above course subjects in STEO and to determine funding. The alphabetic code is set out in the table below. 

Take care to identify the correct alphabetic code, particularly where there are multiple options (such as Vocational Training for Industry [#22.1].

Example: Courses at years 2 and 3 of an undergraduate Medicine degree are classified as #15 with an alphabetic code of T. However, a postgraduate Medicine course, also classified as #15, has the alphabetic code G.

Category (alphabetic code) Relevant discipline and course classifications
A

Arts [#03], Social Sciences [#03], General Education [#5.2], Vocational Training for Industry [#22.1]

B Architecture (non-degree) [#02], Computer Science [#06], Fine Arts [#12], Design [#12], Music and Performing Arts [#16], Health Related Professions [#17], Trades 1 [#21], Vocational Training For Industry [#22.1], Medical Imaging [#25], Occupational Therapy [#28], Clinical Psychology [#34]
C Architecture (degree) [#02], Engineering [#11], Technology [#11], Health Sciences [#13], Vocational Training For Industry [#22.1], Midwifery (3 year) [#27], Speech Language Therapy [#32], Medical Laboratory Science [#33], Audiology [#35], Physiotherapy [#39]
G Dentistry (postgraduate only) [#07], Medicine (postgraduate only) [#15], Veterinary Science [#23]
H Agriculture (degree) [#01], Horticulture (degree) [#01], Specialist Large Animal Science [#39]
I Teaching [#19.1, #19.2, #20]
J Business [#04], Accountancy [#04], Law [#14], Vocational Training for Industry [#22.1]
L Agriculture (non-degree) [#01], Horticulture (non-degree) [#01], Osteopathy [#03.1], Acupuncture [#03.1], Vocational Training for Industry [#22.1], Nursing [#24]
M Pilot Training [#11.2], Optometry [#13.3], Dental Therapy [#17.3], Pharmacy [#31]
N Priority Engineering [#11.1], Dietetics [#36]
O Medical Radiation Therapy [#30]
P Trades 2 [#22], Vocational Training for Industry [#22.1]
Q Veterinary Science (years 3-5) [#23.3]
R Dentistry (undergraduate excluding intermediate – years 2-5) [#07]
S Foreign-Going Nautical [#38]
T Medicine undergraduate (years 2-3) [#15]
U Medicine undergraduate (years 4-6) [#37]
V Science [#18]

Numeric code

The numeric code (based on the level of study of the qualification of which the course forms part) is used to determine funding. It is determined by the level of study of the qualification that the course is part of. Determine the numeric code of a course using the following table.

Category (numeric code) Classification by level and content of study
1 Courses designed for non-degree qualifications with no research requirement, including certificates and diplomas
2

Courses designed for undergraduate degree qualifications, including bachelors degrees, graduate certificates and diplomas

3 Courses designed for taught postgraduate qualifications, including postgraduate certificates and diplomas, bachelors degrees with honours, and taught masters papers
4 Research-based postgraduate qualifications, including masters' theses/dissertations of 1.0 EFTS or more for masters and doctoral study
5 Foreign student enrolments in research-based postgraduate qualifications

Example: An undergraduate medicine course is numeric code 2. A postgraduate Medicine course is numeric code 3 (if a taught course) or 4 (if research based).

Numeric code 3 - Postgraduate qualifications

The essential principle of postgraduate education is that the learning involved is at level 8 or higher on the NZQF.

A certificate or diploma can be classified as a postgraduate qualification if:

  • it is built on the undergraduate degree of the same discipline and at level 8 or higher on the NZQF
  • it is equivalent to the first year (Diploma) or half year (Certificate) of a master’s degree.

It is not appropriate to allocate numeric code 3 for an honours degree awarded as a result of the student's superior achievement in an undergraduate course. A qualification cannot be classified as a postgraduate programme if:

  • it is the fourth year of a four-year undergraduate degree, or
  • it is a graduate certificate or diploma that equates to the final year of an undergraduate degree, and is open to graduate students from a variety of disciplines.

An honours course can be categorised as postgraduate if:

  • the honours programme requires admission from a completed bachelor's degree
  • a student is specifically admitted into a final-year honours stream, or
  • a course is specific to an honours stream.
Numeric code 4 – research-based postgraduate qualifications

The SAC level 3 and above definition for “research-based”, and therefore eligible for SAC level 3 and above numeric code 4 funding rates, is that the research component comprises at least 1.0 EFTS.  Do not confuse this with the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) eligibility criteria for research degree completions, which include recognising qualifications with research components totalling 0.75 EFTS or more. 

You may allocate numeric code 4 for research-based postgraduate qualifications, including a master’s thesis/dissertation, of 1.0 EFTS or more for master's and doctoral study.

You may allocate a numeric code 4 for a research-based postgraduate qualification if the qualification:

  • has an EFTS value of at least 1 EFTS. This total value may be spread over more than one year
  • includes one or more courses at level 8 or higher on the NZQF that total a minimum of 1 EFTS
  • requires a student, who is supervised, to produce a substantial research output that amounts to 100% of the learning and assessment for that course.

A course that is preparatory to a thesis, such as research methods, is not a postgraduate course.

Numeric code 5 - Foreign student enrolments

A foreign student enrolled in a research-based postgraduate qualification may be a valid domestic student enrolment for the purposes of SAC level 3 and above funding.  See Condition: Use of SAC3+ funding for valid domestic enrolments and Student eligibility.

The TEO may allocate numeric code 5 to these courses.

Professional programme variations

A professional qualification may begin with an intermediate year of study that is not classified in the same category as subsequent professional years.

For example, a professional qualification such as health sciences, fine arts, agriculture, horticulture or music combine compulsory specialist courses with optional courses from arts, science and other classifications.

A TEO should use the course classification for optional non-professional courses, rather than the classification of a programme or qualification.

EFTS factor of courses (FACTOR)

The EFTS factor of a course equates to the course size that is a portion of the total EFTS value of the programme leading to award of the qualification of which the course is part. In STEO the field name is ‘Qualification’, which means programme leading to award of the qualification.

As a guideline, we recommend that the size of the smallest course should not have an EFTS factor of less than 0.1.

Although you may choose to deliver a smaller course, if the course is based on a single unit standard and has a course EFTS factor of less than 0.1, we do not require you to further disaggregate the course in STEO.

You may report delivery for one qualification as one course.  However, that means that a student can only enrol in the one course (i.e. the whole programme) leading to award of the qualification.

After a programme has been disaggregated into courses and we have approved these as eligible for access to SAC level 3 and above funding, you cannot retrospectively disaggregate the programme further.

Calculation

If a qualification is measured in credits, we require the EFTS factor of a course to be calculated by:

  • dividing the number of credits in the course by the total number of credits in the qualification, and
  • multiplying that number by the EFTS value of the qualification. 

However, if a TEO proposes to deliver a qualification in one year for which the credits exceed 120, we require the TEO to calculate the EFTS factor for that course using the total number of credits, not 120.

The EFTS factor must be expressed to four decimal places.

Example: if a qualification has a total of 60 credits and an EFTS value of 0.5, the EFTS factors of the courses in the qualification are calculated as:

Courses Credits Qualification EFTS value Course EFTS factor
1 24 0.5 24 / 60 x 0.5 = 0.2000
2 20 0.5 20 / 60 x 0.5 = 0.1667
3 16 0.5 16 / 60 x 0.5 = 0.1333
  Credits=60   EFTS value = 0.5

Stage of pre-service teacher education qualification (STAGE)

If the course is part of a pre-service teacher education qualification, you must also give us the stage. It contains a value to indicate the stage of the qualification to which the course contributes. 

Course tuition fee (FEE)

The course tuition fee (inclusive of GST) is the standard fee that domestic students normally pay for tuition and costs associated with enrolment in the course. Importantly, the course tuition fee is net of:

  • compulsory course costs (for example, administration charges, examination fees, material charges), and
  • fees exempt from the Annual Maximum Fees Movement (for example, student services levies, student association fees, health fees, recognition of prior learning fees).

No fee can be charged to a student apart from compulsory course costs (below) and/or the course tuition fee and/or the compulsory student services fee. Course tuition fees and compulsory course costs fees must be approved by us before they can be charged to students.

Internet based learning indicator (INTERNET)

You must indicate whether the teaching and learning in the course is currently available (in part or as a whole) through the internet.

PBRF-eligible course indicator (PBRF Eligible)

You must indicate if the course is eligible for Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) funding.

A course is eligible for PBRF funding if it is wholly research-based and meets our PBRF guidelines, which are detailed in the PBRF section of this website.

Tuition fee paid by international fee-paying students (FOREIGN FEE)

The tuition fee paid by an international student who will be enrolled in the course.  

Compulsory course costs fee (CCCOSTS Fee)

The compulsory course costs fee of the course. Compulsory course costs include:

  • administration charges
  • examination fees
  • other charges associated with a course or programme of study
  • material charges
  • costs of field trips, and
  • any compulsory purchase of equipment or books through the TEO.

No fee can be charged to a student apart from compulsory course costs and/or the course tuition fee (above) and/or the compulsory student services fee. Course tuition fees and compulsory course costs fees must be approved by us before they can be charged to students.

Embedded literacy and numeracy flag (EMB LIT NUM)

You must indicate whether the course includes embedded literacy and/or numeracy provision.

A course with embedded literacy and numeracy provision will deliver deliberate teaching of literacy and numeracy skills and will be part of a programme that has:

  • explicit literacy and numeracy statements, such as learning outcomes or teaching and learning statements within programme or course information
  • a literacy and numeracy diagnostic assessment for each student, and
  • assessment of each student's progress in literacy and numeracy skill development. 

Approving the qualification as eligible to access funding (for PTEs)

When approving a qualification as eligible to access SAC level 3 and above funding, we will:

  • check that the details of the programme leading to award of the qualification are consistent with your quality assurance approval for the programme leading to award of the qualification
  • consider whether the EFTS value of the qualification is correct
  • check that the course, programme and/or qualification are eligible in accordance with the funding mechanism and/or funding conditions
  • consider whether a student enrolled in the qualification will be able to access a student allowance and/or the Student Loan Scheme, if the student is eligible, and
  • consider whether delivery of the qualification is desirable (e.g. that another TEO is not already delivering a similar qualification in the proposed delivery location), including when it is replacing an existing, similar qualification (e.g. post Targeted Review of Qualifications).

You can use the ‘qualification search’ or ‘course search’ in the STEO website to find a current list of qualifications and courses approved for SAC level 3 and above funding.

To access SAC level 3 and above funding the qualification(s) must be included in your organisation’s approved Investment Plan (in the mix of provision) for that year. If you want to add a new qualification to your mix of provision, discuss this with your TEC Investment Manager/Advisor.

The Annual Maximum Fee Movement (AMFM)

The Annual Maximum Fee Movement (AMFM) policy sets limits on fees that TEOs can charge students. Its purpose is to promote affordability of study for students while allowing TEOs some flexibility in setting fees. 

See Condition: Annual Maximum Fee Movement. We monitor TEOs for compliance with the policy.

The AMFM applies to SAC level 3 and above courses:

  • funded in a previous year (or years), and
  • established by a TEO in substitution for an existing course on the same or similar subject matter, at the same or similar level on the NZQF, and
  • with fees that all domestic students are required to pay.

The 2017 AMFM is set at 2%. An additional 2% is permitted for those TEOs that successfully apply for an exception.

The 2017 AMFM for Information and Communications Technology Graduate Schools (ICT Graduate Schools) has also been set at 2%. 

NOTE: fee increases above the AMFM are by exception only – see below for information about how to apply for an exception to the AMFM. Fee increases may only be applied annually to a course offered in the previous year. Fees for courses not offered in the previous year, and where the AMFM was not applied, are not eligible to ‘catch up’ in the following year.

Exceptions to the AMFM

Applications for exceptions are considered annually. 

2017

You may apply for an exception to the AMFM and be approved to increase your fees by up to an additional 2% above the AMFM already permitted. We may only grant an exception to the AMFM policy under exceptional circumstances.

The exception criteria for 2017 are specified in Tertiary Education (2017 Annual Maximum Fee Movement) Notice 2016.

We will only grant an exception if all the following criteria are met:

  • you are unable to support the course while remaining financially viable
  • for a course at levels 3–8 on the NZQF which is part of a programme leading to a qualification, the completion rate for that qualification met or exceeded the median performance benchmark for that level in the previous year
  • you can demonstrate that the course is in some way unique or special (for example, there are no local alternatives to the course available) and
  • not allowing the exception will prevent you from making a significant contribution to the achievement of one or more of the Government's priorities, as set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy 2014–2019. 

You should consider carefully whether placing an additional fee burden on students is the most appropriate way of addressing financial issues.

2018

This page will be updated when the exception process for 2018 is opened later in 2017.

How to apply for an exception to the AMFM

You must apply for an exception to the AMFM policy using the guidelines and forms below.

This application process applies only to courses that start between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017.

Exception information for any courses that start in 2018 will be made available during 2017.

Applications must be made using the following forms and templates:

The “exception application assessment template” contains the key decision points that we will use for assessing applications. Further information is available in the “application guidelines”.  

Setting fees and course costs for courses

When you establish a new course for a programme leading to award of a qualification(s), you may contact us to have the course approved for SAC level 3 and above funding. As part of that process we need information from you about the fee you propose to charge. 

Before we approve the course for SAC level 3 and above funding, in line with the AMFM policy above, we check if the course is a new course, or replacing or substituting an existing course.

New courses

We consulted with TEO representatives to establish criteria for when a course can be considered “new”.  A new course is one that is newly developed and entered into our system for the first time, or an existing course which:

  • is dormant, meaning:     
    • it has not been delivered by the TEO for at least two calendar years and     
    • no fee increases have been entered into STEO within that period, or
  • has a change to the credit value of the course by five credits or more, or
  • has a change to NZQF level, or
  • has a change to the funding category.

Note: These criteria are different from those included in Condition: Making changes to qualifications about what is a “significant change” for the purposes of entering qualification information into STEO. This is because these criteria are looking at a change or changes to a course for the purpose of setting fees.  We still require the information about the courses and qualifications to be entered into STEO and the Single Data Return (SDR) in accordance with the SDR Manual.

If the course is new, we consider if the fee or course cost for the new course is consistent with the fees and course costs charged for existing similar courses offered by other TEOs on a dollar per equivalent full-time student (EFTS) basis.

We expect the fees or course costs proposed to be in the middle of the range of fees and course costs charged by other TEOs.

If we are concerned about the level of fees or course costs proposed, we will discuss this with you.  For approval to be given for the high fees, you need to justify them successfully. If we do not agree to the fees and course costs you set, you will not be able to access or continue to access public funding for the course.

Substitute courses

If a course has been established as a substitute for another course, the TEO may not charge a domestic student fee for the new course that is more than the AMFM for the substituted course. 

For 2017 the AMFM is 2% above the fee that the TEO charged domestic students in the previous year for the substituted course. In 2016, the AMFM was 3%. In 2015, the AMFM was 4%.

“If a course has been established as a substitute for another course” means that the course meets all of the following criteria:

  • is replacing an active course, meaning:     
    • it has been delivered by the TEO within the past two calendar years   
    • a fee increase has been entered into STEO within that period
  • has changed by fewer than five credits compared to the course that it is substituting
  • has no change to NZQF level compared to the course that it is substituting, and
  • has not changed in terms of the funding category of the course that it is substituting.

Example scenarios are set out below. Please contact the Sector Helpdesk for guidance.

Use of courses Outcome
Using an approved course. No new TEC approval so no change to fees (other than up to AMFM).

Changing an approved course but not:

  • changing its NZQF level
  • changing its total credits by more than 4, or
  • changing its funding category.

These are ‘substitute’ courses.

TEC approval is required. The fee for the changed course do not need to be adjusted.  

Changing an approved course to:

  • change its NZQF level, or
  • change its total credits by 5 or more, or
  • change its funding category.
 

These are ‘new’ courses.

TEC approval is required. The fee must be comparable to the fee charged by other TEOs for similar courses.  

Establishing a new course.

A course may have other changes, including changes to the NZSCED code or the timeframe to complete the qualification, or a number of small changes that together create a major change.  We will consider these changes on a case-by-case basis upon request to consider whether the course is new and not a substitution for an existing course.

We acknowledge that courses will be changing as a result of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) targeted review of qualifications (TRoQ). We also acknowledge that it is not always possible for a TEO to identify the course fees being charged by other TEOs.

If you require any assistance in determining the appropriate level of fees for your courses before entering them into STEO for approval please contact our Sector Helpdesk, submitting a completed version of the table below for each proposed course. 

Note: To view the full width of the table, use the scroll bar at the bottom of the table.

Course Code Course Title Credits EFTS Factor Funding Category (alphabetic and numeric codes NZSCED Proposed Tuition Fee Proposed Compulsory Course Costs (CCC) Fee Total Proposed Fee
                 
                 

Subcontracting

Subcontracting refers to a situation in which a TEO uses TEC funding to pay another organisation to deliver teaching or assessment on its behalf. This excludes:

  • teaching and learning activities contracted to individuals or organisations that are not TEOs (for example, an employee on a fixed-term contract, an honorary staff member, or a contract for teaching and learning services with a subject-matter expert for part of the programme such as for First Aid provision)
  • research activities or postgraduate research supervision, and
  • learning that occurs within vocational placements such a workplace placement or practicum.

A TEO must not subcontract any SAC level 3 and above funded activities without our prior written consent. See Condition: Subcontracting.

Subcontracting can be agreed in two ways

Subcontracting can be agreed to within a TEO’s Investment Plan (Plan). The subcontracting specified in the Plan is permitted for the period of the Plan. If the Plan expires then approval needs to be obtained from us again.

Subcontracting can also be agreed outside of a Plan. Again, the subcontracting specified is permitted for the period agreed with us.

At any time, TEOs can contact us to discuss proposed subcontracting.

Subcontracting TEO obligations

As specified in section 159YC (1) of the Education Act 1989, it is a condition of a TEO receiving funding under section 159YA that the TEO will supply to us, from time to time as required by us, and in a form specified by us, any financial, statistical, or other information that we require the TEO to supply.

Therefore, at any time, we can request information regarding subcontracted activities from the TEO (that has subcontracted another party to carry out the activities).

In addition, a TEO that has subcontracted another party to carry out its activities:

  1. must comply with any conditions imposed by us within a consent to subcontract; and
  2. must ensure that the subcontracted party does not further subcontract any functions; and
  3. will be accountable to us for the use of the SAC level 3 and above funding, including in respect to legislative and funding condition requirements.

See Condition: Subcontracting.

Approving a qualification for student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme

We are responsible for approving each qualification for student access to student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme. A qualification must be approved for SAC level 3 and above funding before a student can access student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme in respect of the qualification. For further information on eligibility visit the Studylink website.

Before we will approve a qualification for student access to student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme, you must be one of the following:

  • accredited by the relevant quality assurance body to deliver the content of a qualification
  • able to show that there is an arrangement in place with an accredited TEO to deliver any content for which you do not hold accreditation.

Note: As we will not backdate approval for access to student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme, we require this information at least four weeks before the start of tuition for the qualification.  This will ensure that each student who is enrolled in an approved qualification can access financial support (if they are eligible).

Qualifications delivered full-time

We will only approve a SAC level 3 and above funded qualification for student access to both student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme if it:

  • is delivered full-time
  • runs for a minimum of 12 weeks, and
  • has an EFTS value of at least 0.3.

Qualifications delivered part-time

A programme for a qualification of less than 0.3 EFTS is classified as part-time regardless of the number of weeks over which it is delivered. A part-time programme for a qualification is not eligible for student access to student allowances.

For a SAC level 3 and above funded part-time programme leading to award of a qualification, we will only approve student access to the Student Loan Scheme if the programme meets one of the following criteria:

  • runs for 32 weeks or more and has an EFTS value of at least 0.3 EFTS, or
  • runs for fewer than 32 weeks with an EFTS value of between 0.25 and 0.3 EFTS.

Loan entry threshold

The loan entry threshold (LET) is used to identify the minimum EFTS value required for a student's individual study programme to be deemed full-time. This affects student eligibility to access student allowances and the Student Loan Scheme. A qualification that is not deemed to be full-time (i.e. not approved for access to student allowances or the Student Loan Scheme) can nevertheless be funded through SAC level 3 and above. 

The LET is determined by matching a range of gross weeks to a range of EFTS values.  A gross week is the total length of enrolment in a programme of study, including holiday weeks (recess).

The table below shows this relationship. Qualifications of less than 0.3 EFTS may still be eligible for student access to the Student Loan Scheme.

LOAN ENTRY THREASHOLD TABLE
Length of enrolment
(Gross weeks)
Loan entry threshold
(EFTS)
12 0.3
13 0.3
14 0.3
15 0.3
16 0.4
17 0.4
18 0.4
19 0.4
20 0.5
21 0.525
22 0.55
23 0.575
24 0.6
25 0.625
26 0.65
27 0.675
28 0.7
29 0.725
30 0.75
31 0.775
32-52 0.8
53 or more 1.0

Qualification close process

You can close a qualification that you no longer offer. This removes the qualification from the NZQA Register of Quality Assured Qualifications and your list of active qualifications.

The process can be found on the STEO website