Last updated 13 June 2018
Last updated 13 June 2018

This page has information about Student Achievement Component (SAC) levels 1 and 2 student admission and enrolment, verification of student identity and eligibility, payment and refund of compulsory student services fee (if applicable), and student withdrawals.


A tertiary education organisation’s (TEO’s) admission and enrolment process for SAC levels 1 and 2 provision should include the steps below:

Step Responsibility Action
1 TEO Provides information on qualifications (including courses) and enrolment, and the withdrawal and fees refund 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 levels 1 and 2 funding – competitive or non- competitively allocated)
5 TEO Recognises prior learning
6 TEO Makes a formal offer to enrol the student on a course or programme of study, excluding recognised prior learning
7 Student Formally accepts the offer
8 TEO Records the enrolment
9 TEO Invoices the student for any compulsory student services fee (CSSF)
10 Student Pays any CSSF, or arranges for it to be paid
11 TEO Records payment of any CSSF
12 TEO Provides the student with information about all planned learning activities in their programme
13 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.

Note: We expect the TEO to inform each student during the enrolment process about all planned learning activities leading to the award of the qualification the student has enrolled in. ‘Planned learning activities’ includes self-directed learning activities the TEO expects the student to engage with/participate in. It does not include self-directed activities the student initiates. 

See all of the SAC levels 1 and 2 funding conditions for requirements when enrolling students in SAC levels 1 and 2 funded provision, taking account for 2018 of whether the course enrolment will be funded through SAC levels 1 and 2 (competitive) funding or through SAC levels 1 an 2 (non-competitive) funding. This includes but is not limited to the following conditions.


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

  • admission requirements
  • criteria and processes 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 tertiary education organisation (TEO)
  • the enrolment process
  • minimum attendance and code of conduct requirements
  • withdrawal requirements and process, including refunds
  • student support services available, and
  • compulsory student services fee information in accordance with Condition: Compulsory student services fee (CSSF).


See the following conditions for fees requirements.

For further information, see Enrolment changes in the Enrolment section below.

Note: There are legislative requirements for both tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and private training establishments (PTEs) to provide information about fees.

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, before you offer items or activities to students who enrol with you, you contact us to discuss your plan. This will help ensure that you comply with the funding condition.


Enrolment form

An enrolment form should collect all of the information you are required to report in the Single Data Return (SDR). See the following conditions.

To ensure an enrolment form collects all of the necessary information, you need to be familiar with the SDR Manual. You can 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 the award of a qualification, a student needs to apply to the tertiary education organisation (TEO) by:

Enrolment changes

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

We suggest you specify the period in which a student can change his or her enrolment or withdraw from a course (so it is clear on their academic record and they do not incur unnecessary course-related costs). 

Compulsory student services fee (CSSF) refund when the enrolment changes

You must make clear to the student at enrolment the period during which they may change their enrolment(s) or withdraw from a course or programme with a compulsory student services fee (CSSF) refund, if applicable (excluding any administration charge).

See Withdrawal date and CSSF refund period information in Withdrawals below.

You must process CSSF refunds in a timely manner for the student. 

If you refund all or some of a student’s CSSF, you must refund the student in the manner in which the original fee was paid. 

Where the student is entitled to a refund, you may not hold the refund as a credit (for example, for the student enrolling/re-enrolling at your organisation in the future) unless you can demonstrate that the student has understood their refund entitlement and agreed to waive their entitlement.


The above also applies when you decide to pay the student's CSSF through a scholarship.

Verification of student identity

To comply with reporting requirements under Schedule 18, clause 13 of the Act, a tertiary education organisation (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.

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

  • Originals must be in hard copy format.
  • Certified copies can be 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 TEOs to have a clear identity verification policies that tell staff and students when additional evidence of identity is required (for example, police checks or referee checks). We recommend reading the Department of Internal Affairs' Evidence of Identity Standard.  

Verification of student eligibility

Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) must ensure that students are eligible to be enrolled in SAC levels 1 and 2 funded programmes. See Condition: Verification of student eligibility.

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

Recognition of learning / prior achievement

Recognition of learning / prior achievement refers to previous study or experience (prior achievement) relevant to the programme that the student is about to enrol in or is currently studying. It 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.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL), and credit recognition and transfer (CRT), are forms of recognising learning / prior achievement. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) provides information and guidelines on recognition of learning / prior achievement for tertiary education organisations (TEOs).

It is the TEO’s responsibility to recognise each student’s prior learning and adjust the courses in his or her programme. A TEO cannot claim SAC level 1 and 2 funding for RPL or CRT, or for delivering tuition where the student already has prior learning (i.e. skills and/or knowledge).

See Condition: Recognised prior learning.  

This means the TEO is responsible for:

  • undertaking a preliminary evaluation of the learner and identifying whether they are likely to have the knowledge, skills, and attributes that can contribute to the graduate outcomes of the qualification
  • seeking evidence of prior academic achievement using an NZQA Record of Achievement (ROA) when each student enrols, and
  • carrying out a National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualification check with NZQA to see each student's full NCEA achievement and paid and unpaid credits.

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

Student-centred provision

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 their start date.

Note: No SAC levels 1 and 2 funding can be claimed unless the student has started their study and the 10% or one month date for accessing funding has passed. See Condition: Claiming SAC1&2 Fund Funding. The 10% or one month date applies to the date the student starts their deferred enrolment.

Students wanting to accelerate their study (undertake additional learning)

You should not enrol a student in an additional course or qualification unless the student elects to exceed the equivalent full-time student (EFTS) value of the qualification (for example, if he or she needs to re-do a course that they previously have not passed). In this case, the total EFTS value of that student’s enrolments for that qualification will be greater that the EFTS value of the qualification that is achieved.  

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

Students enrolling concurrently with another tertiary education organisation

We would not expect a student enrolled in foundation-level provision to successfully manage concurrent enrolments at separate tertiary education organisations (TEOs), and complete their courses and qualifications.

Concurrent enrolments at another TEO are not prohibited. However, any TEO with a foundation-level student in this situation should advise the student against this, and/or work with the other TEO to ensure the student’s study workload is at a manageable level.


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

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. 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).

Setting the withdrawal date for a withdrawn student

Tertiary education organisations (TEOs) need to apply a “withdrawal date” to any enrolment in the Single Data Return (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 (rounded up to the nearest whole day), whichever is earlier.

See the following conditions for withdrawals requirements.

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 the 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 stopped participating Withdrawal date the TEO advises to StudyLink, and reports in the SDR Date by when the TEO must have advised StudyLink of the withdrawal
7 March 2018 12 March 2018 12 March 2018 19 March 2018

Withdrawal date and compulsory student services fee (CSSF) refund period

TEOs need to apply a CSSF refund period. If a student withdraws from a course or programme within this period, they must receive a refund of the CSSF (or waiver of fee payment). The refund period requirements are different for private training establishments (PTEs) and tertiary education institutions (TEIs).

See Condition: Withdrawal of enrolments.

Also see Enrolment changes information in Enrolment above.

Requesting fees payment from StudyLink

CSSF cannot be paid for through the Student Loan Scheme.

Students with unpaid CSSF

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

If the student does not pay the CSSF as they committed, then they cease to be a valid domestic enrolment. SAC levels 1 and 2 funding must not be claimed for them.