About fees-free

About fees-free

Last updated 7 August 2018
Last updated 7 August 2018

This page sets out the eligibility criteria for fees-free study in 2018. It also includes a summary of fees-free coverage for 2018.

Please Note: Learners are not yet able to check their eligibility for 2019 on the Fees Free website. We will advise all TEOs when the eligibility tool has been updated.

Learner eligibility criteria

To check their eligibility status, learners need to go to www.feesfree.govt.nz.

Provider-based study

Includes study at institutes of technology and polytechnics, private training establishments, universities and wānanga.

To be eligible for fees-free study at a provider, a learner must be:

  1. a New Zealand citizen, or
  2. ordinarily resident in New Zealand and either:
    • have been living in New Zealand for at least three years while holding a residence class visa, or
    • be a refugee or protected person, or
    • be sponsored into New Zealand by someone in their family who, at the time of sponsorship, was a refugee or protected person
  3. not concurrently enrolled in a school at the start date of the course or programme, and
  4. either:
    • have been enrolled in a school at any time during 2017 or 2018, or
    • not undertaken more than half a year of equivalent full-time tertiary education (0.5 EFTS or 60 credits) at level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQF), including tertiary education at an equivalent level in any other country. This excludes any tertiary education undertaken while enrolled in a school.

The learner must also be studying an eligible course or programme.

Industry training

To be eligible for fees-free industry training, a learner must be:

  1. not currently enrolled in a school at the start date of the programme, and
  2. either:
    • have been enrolled in a school at any time during 2017 or 2018, or
  • not undertaken more than half-a-year of equivalent full-time tertiary education (0.5 EFTS or 60 credits) at level 3 or above on the NZQF, including tertiary education at an equivalent level in any other country. This excludes any tertiary education undertaken while enrolled in a school.

The learner must also enrol in an eligible industry training programme.

Eligible courses and programmes

To be eligible for fees-free funding, courses and programmes must:

  • start in 2018
  • be approved for funding by the TEC
  • be recognised by the (NZQA) or Universities New Zealand
  • be at NZQF level 3 or above, and
  • for industry training, comprise at least 120 credits (which includes all New Zealand apprenticeships).

Summary of fees-free coverage for 2018

Provider-based study

In 2018, fees-free support is capped at $12,000 (including GST) per learner. There is no equivalent full-time student (EFTS) or credit cap. So a fees-free eligible learner can receive up to $12,000 (including GST) for any eligible provider-based study they undertake in the 2018 calendar year.

Learners who don’t undertake one EFTS in 2018 can carry forward their remaining fees-free entitlement (in dollars and EFTS). This is assuming the learner has not used $12,000 (including GST) of fees-free support. You can find out more about this in the carry-over section

The fees-free policy covers:

  • tuition fees
  • associated mandatory fees, and
  • compulsory student services fees.

Learners will need to pay other optional and occasional fees such as students association and club memberships, some course materials, and late fees.

This aligns fees-free coverage with current fee regulation and those courses currently covered by the Student Loan Scheme.

Industry training

Eligible learners that start their industry training programme in the 2018 calendar year are eligible for their fees to be paid for the first 24 months of the training programme.

The fees-free policy covers fees for training and assessment, including fees:

  • paid to industry training organisations (ITOs)
  • paid directly to training and assessment providers, or
  • paid as part of fees-charged by group training schemes.