Enrolment – 2016

Enrolment – 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 levels 1 and 2 (non-competitive) funding, refer to:

Generic conditions that relate to all on-Plan funds

Specific conditions that relate to this fund only


This page sets out the enrolment process for Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding for provision at levels 1 and 2, non-competitive allocation (SAC(NC)).

In includes information on the enrolment process, enrolment forms and applications, verification of identity and eligibility, as well as material about fees and withdrawals.

Enrolment process

A tertiary education organisation (TEO) should ahve a standard admission and enrolement process for Student Achievement Component (SAC) for provision at level 1 and 2 on the New Zealand Qualificaitons Framework (NZQF), non-competitive allocation (for this website page, referred to as SAC(NC)).  

We expect that the admission and enrolement process should include the steps set out below:




Provides information on qualifications (including courses) and enrolment


Applies to the TEO for admission and enrolment (separately or together)


Verifies the student’s identity


Confirms the student’s eligibility to study (and eligibility to attract SAC(NC) funding)


Makes a formal offer to enrol the student on a course or programme of study


Formally accepts the offer


Records the enrolment


Invoices the student for any tuition fees (if the student is over the age of 25 years and fees apply)


Pays any tuition fees or arranges for them to be paid (if fees apply)


Records payment of any fees or charges, including withdrawal and refunds


Provides for refunds for students who withdraw from courses within the defined withdrawal period 

TEO Once the withdrawal period has passed, the student then becomes a confirmed student enrolment.

More information on these steps is set out below.  These guidelines apply to each TEO, unless specified otherwise.

There are also a number of conditions and legislative requirements that relate to enrolment. See the Conditions page for more information. 

Admission information

The TEC expects a TEO to publish admission information before the start of each programme. This information should include: 

  • admission requirements
  • criteria and processes for having a student’s prior learning assessed and recognised
  • documents that a student must submit (for example, a student's academic transcript or record from another TEO)
  • enrolment processes
  • minimum attendance and code of conduct requirements
  • the TEO's withdrawal policy
  • student support services
  • fees and other course costs.

There are specific legislative requirements for both tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and private training establishments (PTEs) to provide information about fees.  See the Conditions page for more information.  

Admission restrictions

A TEO may decide to restrict the number of eligible students who can enrol in a programme.  For example, a TEO could do this by requiring a student to achieve satisfactory academic progress or by setting admission limits (for example, capped enrolment numbers).

If a TEO decides to restrict the number of eligible students who can enrol in a programme in accordance with section 224(5) of the Education Act 1989, we expect the TEO to determine and publish the maximum number of students who can enrol, and the criteria and processes for selecting students into restricted entry qualifications or courses.

The TEO must not, however, restrict enrolment in a programme for which SAC(NC) funding is provided on the basis of private advantage (for example, restricting enrolment to those TEO's employees only). See Condition SACNC022.

Enrolment forms and applications

We expect a TEO to publish its enrolment forms.  An enrolment form should collect all of the information that a TEO is required to report in the Single Data Return (SDR).  To ensure an enrolment form collects all of the necessary information, the TEO should become familiar with the SDR Manual to identify the information that must be collected.  The TEO could also use the Ministry of Education's generic enrolment form.

Enrolment applications

To be admitted into a programme, a student should apply to the TEO. A student should do this by filling in an enrolment form and sending the form to the TEO, and providing the TEO with evidence of identity to enable the TEO to verify the student's identity, and determine eligibility to enrol as a domestic student.

If a student's enrolment changes for any reason, the TEO should update its records to reflect those changes. We recommend that a TEO also sends an updated enrolment form or document to the student. 

The TEO should specify the period in which students may change their enrolment or withdraw from a course or programme without financial penalty (less any administration charge). See "Withdrawals" below. There are specific legislative requirements for PTEs relating to fee refunds. See the Conditions page for more information.

Verification of identity and verification of eligibility

A TEO must verify the identity of each student enrolling at the TEO.  Once verified, the TEO can then check if the student is a valid domestic enrolment (i.e. eligible to attract SAC(NC) funding).

Verification of identity

A TEO must verify a student's identity when the student enrols for the first time in a programme of learning that leads to a qualification with an equivalent full-time student (EFTS) value of greater than 0.03 EFTS (see Condition SACNC018). The TEO can verify the student’s identity by one of the following:

  • confirming that all data fields match the student’s National Student Number (NSN).  The data supplied by the student must correctly match the details of their NSN in all data fields when cross-referenced with the NSN details held on the National Student Index.  The student must declare that they are the owner of the NSN
  • receiving an assertion through the Department of Internal Affairs’ RealMe® online identity verification service
  • sighting the original or certified copy of a current passport
  • sighting the original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:
    • a birth certificate
    • a certificate of identity
    • a New Zealand certificate of citizenship
    • an expired passport that has not been cancelled.

If a student is unable to obtain a birth certificate, you can contact us to discuss using a whakapapa statement as evidence of identity.

Re-verifying identity

For subsequent enrolments in consecutive years, the TEO is not required to re-verify identity.  However, TEOs should assess their level of risk around identity verification and, if appropriate, should develop a policy as to when the TEO must re-verify the student’s identity.

TEO to have a policy for when additional identity verification is required

Each TEO should have a clear identity verification policy that informs staff and students about when additional evidence of identity may be required. We expect TEOs to familiarise themselves with the Department of Internal Affairs' Evidence of Identity Standard

Valid domestic enrolments

A TEO must comply with Condition SACNC019 and verify a student's eligibility as a valid domestic enrolment using the following verification methods:

Type of student

Verification methods

A New Zealand citizen

a TEO must do one of the following:

a)   confirm the student's citizenship status using the student’s NSN

b)  receive an assertion through RealMe® that the student was born in New Zealand (before 2005)

c)   sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:

       i)    a New Zealand birth certificate

       ii)   a New Zealand passport

       iii)  a New Zealand certificate of citizenship

d)   if a student is unable to obtain a birth certificate for the purposes of (c)(i) above, contact the TEC to confirm that a whakapapa statement signed by both the student and a kaumātua is acceptable evidence of citizenship.

A New Zealand resident:

a TEO must sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:

a)   a passport with a current returning residency class visa (a passport with a visa label)

b)  a passport, and letter or email, confirming current returning residency class visa (label-less visa, followed by confirmation with Immigration New Zealand, where appropriate)

c)   a certificate of identity from Immigration New Zealand if the student is a refugee.

An Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident currently residing in New Zealand:

a TEO must sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:

a)   an Australian birth certificate

b)  an Australian passport

c)   a passport with a current Australian resident return visa.

A dependant of diplomatic personnel:

a TEO must sight the original or certified copy of an authorised form from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Other types of valid domestic enrolments:

a TEO must ensure that a student is an exchange student taking part in a New Zealand Government approved exchange programme at a TEO.

Re-verifying a valid domestic enrolment

For subsequent enrolments in consecutive years, the TEO is not required to re-verify a student’s validity as a domestic enrolment.  However, TEOs should have a policy for when re-verification is required (for example, if a student’s valid domestic enrolment status when they first enrol is time-bound, or subject to change).

TEO to have a policy for when additional eligibility verification is required

Each TEO should have a clear eligibility policy that informs staff and students about when additional evidence of eligibility to study may be required.

Enrolments of students with student visas as domestic students 

Visa approval notification

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

Students with label-less visas may 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.


TEOs 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” for more information. You can also contact Immigration New Zealand if you have questions.

To comply with Condition SACNC017, TEOs may want to retain a download of the VisaView record, although you will be able to refer to it online as required.

Deferring start date

A TEO may allow a student to defer the start date of their enrolment in a programme. We recommend that a TEO specifies the circumstances in which a student may defer their enrolment. The TEO must ensure that it does not claim funding for a student who has deferred their enrolment until the student actually starts the programme.  

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) relates to previous study or experience relevant to a programme of study or training a student is currently undertaking.

RPL enables a student to proceed with the study or training without repeating aspects of the qualification or re-learning skills the student has already gained through past work or other experience.

A TEO must not seek SAC(NC)funding for RPL credited to a student. For more information, see Condition SACNC023

Additional learning

Across the total programme of study or training, Condition SACNC009 prevents a TEO from enrolling a student in an additional course or qualification  if the total enrolment for that year will exceed the annual EFTS value of the qualification being attained. However, in an exceptional circumstance, a student may elect to exceed the EFTS value (for example, if the student needs to re-sit a course in order to achieve it, the total EFTS value of that student’s enrolments at the TEO for that year will be greater that the annual EFTS value of the qualification that is attained).

A TEO may only generally seek SAC(NC) funding for the EFTS factor of a course once, even if a student's enrolment in that course can lead to the award of two (or more) qualifications for the student.  However, the EFTS factor will be valid for additional SAC(NC) funding if the TEO can demonstrate that the student's additional enrolment in the course is matched with additional teaching input or assessment. See Condition SACNC008.


A TEO must not induce a student into enrolling in SAC(NC)-funded provision. An enrolment that is induced is an invalid domestic enrolment - see the Eligibility page.

An inducement to enrol includes any of the following:

  • a financial benefit to the student
  • a personal advantage to the student not directly related to the attainment of that qualification
  • a physical item that a student retains possession of after the course of study or training has ended. 

An inducement does not include:

    • is essential for a student to complete the compulsory requirements of the programme of study (including printed course notes, an e-reader for course notes, course-related textbooks), and
    • cannot be returned and reused for students in subsequent intakes (for example, due to health and safety reasons; time-limited materials or materials that will be updated; if it is not financially feasible)
  • an item or arrangement that has been approved by the TEC.  For example, we may approve an item that has minimal residual value or useful life in the general marketplace, or is needed for a student’s pathway into the vocation for which study or training has been undertaken
  • the guarantee of a job placement on the successful completion of a programme of study, backed by a partial or total money-back guarantee
  • a conditional offer of a partial refund (such as a refund for a timely or electronic enrolment). 


TEO not to charge fees to learners under the age of 25

TEOs that provide SAC(NC)-funded courses, training schemes or NCEA provision must not charge a fee to a student who is under the age of 25 years at the time the course, training scheme or NCEA provision begins (see Condition SACNC024).

Payment of fees

A student is not considered to be a valid domestic enrolment for the purposes of funding unless they have paid or committed to pay the fees (if fees apply) – see Condition SDR001 and Condition SDR001 (PTE).  If a student fails to pay the fees, the TEO must treat the enrolment as invalid (this only applies where student fees are compulsory or required).

A student is considered not to have paid the fees, and is not a valid domestic enrolment, if the student has withdrawn from a course (whether formally or informally) or is expelled, and received a refund of all of the fees (or had any commitment to pay fees waived).

To avoid doubt, 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 valid domestic enrolment.

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


When a TEO has confirmed a student's enrolment, we expect the TEO to provide the student with an invoice that specifies the courses in which they have been accepted, and itemises the fees and course costs of each course in which the student is enrolled.

The student will be required to pay the fees specified in the invoice or arrange for the fees to be paid.  If a student has arranged to pay the fees through the Student Loan Scheme, a TEO should:

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


After a TEO has received payment (or confirmation that payment has been arranged), it should issue a receipt to the student.


If, after a student has paid for the fees, the TEO refunds all or some of a student’s fees (including if the TEO decides to pay for the student's fees through a scholarship), 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.

Fee refunds must be processed in a timely manner.  Failure to do so can result in students incurring unnecessary interest on their loans (where interest applies) and impact on the calculation of EFTS lifetime limits.


UPDATED 31 March 2017


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

Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) need to apply a “withdrawal date”. This defines the period in which a student can withdraw from a course and receive a refund of fees (or waiver of fee payment) and course costs (minus any applicable administration fees). The withdrawal date requirements are different for private training establishments (PTEs) and tertiary education institutions (TEIs).

For PTEs, the withdrawal date and refund period entitlements for students enrolled in all or part of a programme or training scheme that is more than three months in duration are set out in sections 234C to 235D of the Education Act 1989.

If the duration is three months or less, the PTE must set a withdrawal date that is no earlier than 10% of the duration of the programme or training scheme (rounded up to the nearest whole day).

TEIs may set a withdrawal date, provided the date is no earlier than the lesser of:

  • 10% of the duration of the course (rounded up to the nearest whole day), or
  • one calendar month of the course.

If the TEI does not set a withdrawal date, the lesser of these options will apply. 

Disengaged students who have not formally withdrawn

A student may have disengaged from the programme or training scheme even if they have not formally withdrawn. For example, they may not have attended a face-to-face course or not logged in for on-line learning. The TEO should 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 before the withdrawal date. This is 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).