Qualifications and courses

Qualifications and courses

Last updated 28 January 2019
Last updated 28 January 2019

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 tertiary education organisation (TEO) must only use SAC level 3 and above funding for approved qualifications and training schemes (see Condition: Programmes and Qualifications).

This means that, for a qualification or training scheme that we fund, the TEO must deliver the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) approved components of the programme that lead to that qualification. A programme made up of one or more qualifications must also be approved by NZQA or CUAP. That is, programme approval for separate qualifications does not mean the TEO can deliver a combined programme (concurrent qualifications) unless quality assurance body approval has been obtained for the combination programme.

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

There are limits on the course fees (including and course costs) that you can charge domestic students. The purpose of fee regulation is to support affordable study for students while allowing some flexibility in setting fees. 

The Annual Maximum Fee Movement (AMFM) limits the fees you can charge for existing courses or courses that are substitutes for existing courses.

From 13 March 2019 there are limits to the fees you can charge for new courses. See Fee limit for new courses for more information.

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

Qualification, training scheme 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/training schemes 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) provides technical information on using STEO to obtain approval for qualification or training scheme eligibility to access funding.

We require information about all courses and qualifications to be entered into STEO and the SDR in accordance with the SDR Manual.

Non-qualification based components of a programme

See Condition: Programmes and qualifications.

The condition states ‘You must only use SAC3+ Fund Funding to deliver qualifications and courses that have been approved by us’. That is, any agreement from us to fund provision for an NZQA approved programme means we will only pay funding towards components of the programme that contribute directly to a qualification.

In the rare instance that a component of an NZQA approved programme does not contribute directly to a qualification, that component cannot be entered in STEO, or funded. Please contact our Sector Helpdesk about this.

An exception to the two points above is if the programme is a training scheme that we have agreed to fund. 

Training schemes

NZQA defines a training scheme as study or training that leads to an award but does not, of itself, lead to a qualification listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). A training scheme can be at any NZQF level and can provide a range of academic or vocational learning opportunities.

There is no specified credit value for a training scheme.

However, NZQA’s Guidelines to the approval of training schemes specify that a training scheme cannot comprise 40 credits or more (the minimum number of credits for an NZQF qualification) where it is substantially similar to a listed qualification, or has outcomes more suited to being listed as a qualification – see Rule 8.1 of the Training Scheme Rules 2012.

When the Education Amendment Act 2011 came into force on 31 August 2011, any existing approved courses or programmes that did not lead to a qualification listed on the NZQF were deemed to be approved training schemes. As a result the following are deemed to be training schemes, but not to the exclusion of other types of training schemes:

  • Certificates of Proficiency (CoPs) and Certificates of Personal Interest (CPIs) – programmes of less than 40 credits that do not lead to a qualification and are delivered by institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs).
  • Micro-credentials – refer to NZQA’s website for information on micro-credentials.

Approving a qualification or training scheme for access to funding

A TEO approved to receive SAC level 3 and above funding may request to deliver alternative or additional qualifications and/or training schemes than those in its Investment Plan.

In the case of private training establishments (PTEs) the qualifications and/or training schemes will be additional to those listed in the PTE’s mix of provision (MoP).

When submitting a new qualification or training scheme for access to funding, we recommend that you consider whether it:

  • aligns with:
    • the strategic direction outlined in your organisation's Investment Plan (Plan)
    • the Tertiary Education Strategy
  • meets the eligibility criteria requirements of Condition: Programmes and qualifications for SAC level 3 and above funding. Note that training schemes must meet this condition as well as the criteria for funding training schemes below.

Resources

Process

When you submit the qualification/training scheme through the STEO website, remember to provide approval documentation from the external quality assurance body. Please see the SDR Manual for more information.

Once we have received the necessary information, we will decide whether or not the qualification/training scheme meets the eligibility criteria to access SAC level 3 and above funding, and how well it aligns to our investment priorities.  

If we approve the qualification/training scheme as eligible for funding, you need to, if you are a:

  • PTE, request a significant Plan amendment to add the qualification/training scheme to your SAC level 3 and above MoP, or
  • tertiary education institute (TEI), make any resulting qualification component changes to your SAC level 3 and above MoP.

We will release your MoP so you can revise and submit it to us for approval.

Criteria for funding a training scheme

Unless you have an exemption detailed in your funding confirmation letter, to be eligible for SAC level 3 and above funding a training scheme (including a CoP/CPI) must meet all of the criteria below.

  • The training scheme must:
    • have been quality assured (ie, approved) by NZQA or CUAP
    • not duplicate, on its own or in combination with other training scheme(s) /qualification(s), an existing qualification, and
    • be recognised by industry or one or more community of interest, and they must have invested in its development and/or delivery
  • The training scheme’s outcomes must be aligned to our priorities
  • Industry and learner need for the training scheme must have been clearly demonstrated
  • There must be economic or social benefits to New Zealand in funding the training scheme

New training schemes

The criteria take effect from 1 June 2018 for new training schemes.

Existing training schemes

We will engage with providers of existing training schemes during 2019 to determine whether the training scheme(s) meet the criteria for funding. This process may impact on your planned provision for 2020 and thereafter.

We recommend that you take steps during 2018 and 2019 to ensure that any training scheme your organisation is currently funded for meets the criteria for funding from mid-2019 on. It is likely that some training schemes funded in 2018 and 2019 will cease to be funded from 2020, due to not meeting the criteria for funding at that time.

Enrolling learners in a newly approved training scheme or qualification

You can start enrolling learners in the new training scheme or qualification, and access funding:

  • if you are:
    • a PTE, after the training scheme/qualification has been listed in your SAC level 3 and above MoP with regions of delivery and EFTS, or
    • a TEI, after the qualification/training scheme components have been added to your SAC level 3 and above MoP with EFTS, and
  • when we have approved the MoP for funding.

Information about qualifications (and training schemes)

Note: information in this section is relevant to training schemes also.

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
  • the qualification code used on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework  (NZQF), except for training schemes (which includes short awards)
  • 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 of 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(s) for which you are seeking approval for funding.

Notes:

  • This does not mean the title of the programme that NZQA approved, unless the programme title and qualification title are the same.
  • If the programme NZQA has approved consists of one or more qualifications listed on the NZQF plus additional credits, or NZQA has approved a training scheme, the title of the programme or training scheme used in the information for students must accurately represent it, and not imply award of a qualification, or award of a qualification listed on the NZQF, unless that is the case.  See section 292 of the Education Act 1989.

Duration

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

Learning hours

NZQA defines ‘learning hours’ as all planned learning activities leading toward the achievement of programme or qualification learning outcomes.

Types of learning activities include but are not limited to:

  • lecturer and tutor contact hours, including workshops and tutorials
  • tests and assignments
  • supervised practical placements
  • study time
  • self-directed learning activities that you expect the student to engage with/participate in, and
  • examination periods.

The Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) website provides three fields for types of learning activities. We acknowledge that three fields is a limitation in light of the various learning activities that TEOs employ with students. However, a TEO should break down its learning activities, and enter hours in the STEO fields below as accurately as possible, based on the guidance below. The three fields are:

  • teaching hours each week – include, for example, face-to-face classroom/on-line/field trip/simulation time, tutorials, on-site assignments, assessments and examinations
  • work experience hours each week – include, for example, time the student spends practising or learning skills relevant to their study programme in a workplace; this includes a teaching workplace, which may be on-site, as long as it operates as a commercial enterprise, and
  • self-directed study hours each week – ‘self-directed study’ means only TEO-directed study carried out by the student; include, for example, time the student spends on off-site assignments (such as homework assignments), and TEO-directed reading and study hours, that the student must complete in their own time. Note: self-directed study does not include self-directed activities that the student initiates.

Note: A TEO will need to use a rationale applied consistently, in terms of which activities constitute what programme learning hours in STEO for each of the three fields above.

In relation to the number of learning hours in the qualification, we need all of the following information. The:

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

Total learning hours in STEO must be the same as the total programme/qualification learning hours approved by NZQA. We expect actual delivery to align with the total learning hours and the learning activities approved by NZQA. This means we expect each TEO to regularly review the delivery of its programme(s) to ensure they are ‘right sized’ for the majority of students (recognising that some students take more or fewer learning hours to achieve a qualification than others).

Note: During audits and investigations we may check whether a TEO’s delivery reflects our and NZQA’s approvals. To do this we triangulate NZQA approval documentation, STEO data, and your information for learners, and compare the information to actual delivery.

Full-time teaching week

A full-time teaching week includes the types of learning hours 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 (FTE) teaching weeks
  • number of weeks of recess in each year
  • total number of full-time teaching weeks and recess weeks in each year – FTE gross
  • number of credits on the NZQF contained in the qualification, and
  • 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 Students wanting to accelerate their study (undertake additional learning) under Student-centred provision on the Enrolment page.

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 no 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.
  • 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:

           
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

EFTS value of a doctoral programme

Ideally, the EFTS value of a doctoral programme should be no more than four EFTS. This is because we will only fund up to a maximum of four EFTS for a student’s doctoral programme (reported using Source of Funding (SoF) 01).

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 the 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.

Concurrent qualifications

If the programme is made up of more than one qualification concurrently, you will need to provide evidence of NZQA approval for the concurrent qualification programme. It is more efficient to seek NZQA programme approval for all concurrent qualification combinations that you want to deliver, or may deliver in the future, at one time, rather than make separate applications.

Discuss with the Sector Helpdesk that the programme is for concurrent qualifications when you enter each qualification in STEO.

After the qualifications have been separately approved in STEO as eligible to access TEC funding, contact the Sector Helpdesk to request that they be made concurrent in STEO.

Making a change to a programme leading to the qualification

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

In addition, see NZQA’s information about making changes to a programme leading to award of a qualification.

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 Performance Based Research Fund (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, 332 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, 332 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
#011 Engineering; Technology
#011.1 Priority Engineering
#011.2 Pilot Training
#012 Fine Arts; Design
#013 Health Sciences (excluding classifications #07, #15, and #17)
#013.3 Optometry
#014 Law
#015 Medicine (excluding intermediate/first year)
#016 Music and Performing Arts
#017 Health-Related Professions
#017.3 Dental Therapy
#18 Science
#19.1 Teaching: Early Childhood Education
#19.2 Teaching: Primary
#20 Teaching: Secondary
#21 Trades 1
#22 Trades 2
#12.1 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 until 31 December 2018. Thereafter this numeric code is disestablished. 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)

See Setting fees and course costs for courses.

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.

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)

See Setting fees and course costs for courses.

CCCOSTS Fee is 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 2019 AMFM is set at 2% – unless TEC approves an exception. The AMFM for 2018 was also 2%.

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. 

The AMFM policy applies to all courses at levels 3 and above on the NZQF:

  • with fees that all domestic students are required to pay, and
  • funded in a previous year (or years).

The AMFM also applies to courses 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.

For more information about when a new course is considered a substitute course and the AMFM applies see Setting fees and course costs for new courses.

Note: Fee increases can only be applied annually. Courses where the AMFM was not applied the previous year are not eligible to ‘catch up’ fees in the following year.

Exceptions to the AMFM

Applications for exceptions are considered annually, in the year before the course will be delivered. 

2019 AMFM exceptions

You may apply for an AMFM exception to increase your fees by up to an additional 2% above the permitted AMFM. 

We may only grant an exception to the AMFM policy under exceptional circumstances.

The exception criteria are specified in The Tertiary Education (2018 Annual Maximum Fee Movement) Notice 2017.

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.

How to apply for an exception to the AMFM

The application process for 2019 exceptions has closed. This application process only applied to courses starting between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019. 

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”.  

Information about how to apply for an exception for courses that start in 2020 will be made available mid-2019. 

Setting fees and course costs for new courses

When you establish a new course for a programme leading to the award of a qualification(s), you need to contact us to have the course approved for SAC level 3 and above funding.

To be able to access, or continue to access, public funding for the course we need information about the fees you propose to charge to domestic students

We check if the course is a new course or one that is a substitute for an existing course.

New courses

A new course is one that is entered into our system for the first time, or it is an existing course which:

  • has been 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
  • changed credit value by five credits or more, or
  • changed NZQF level, or
  • changed funding category.

Note: The criteria for ‘new’ courses, used for fee regulation, were developed in consultation with sector representatives. They are different from the criteria used in Condition: Making changes to qualifications which sets out what is “significant change” when entering qualification information into STEO.

Fee limit for new courses

Following sector consultation, the Minister of Education has made changes to SAC provision at level 3 and above funding determination to limit fees for new courses. This establishes TEC’s previous operational settings that regulated fees for new courses as conditions of funding.

From 13 March 2019, course fees and course costs for new courses must be no more than the 75th percentile from the range of fees for similar courses charged by:

  • your organisation, or
  • your sub-sector, or
  • across the sector.

The highest of the three 75th percentile calculations will apply.

When identifying similar courses we consider the course:

  • funding category
  • New Zealand Standard Classification of Education (NZSCED), and
  • EFTS factor.

Exceptions to fee limits for new courses

In exceptional circumstances you may apply for an exception to the limit on new course fees. For example, where there are no or very few similar courses to compare fees with. 

Information about how to apply for an exception, including guidelines and application forms, will be released in early March 2019.

In determining exceptions, we consider all the following criteria:

  • The course is part of a programme of study that would be financially unviable without a higher fee.
  • Where the course is part of a qualification at levels 3 - 8 on the NZQF that has been delivered previously, the completion rate for the 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 or very few similar courses to compare fees with.

The course is aligned to Government priorities as set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy.

Substitute courses

If a 'new' course a substitute for another course, you can increase the course fee by no more than the AMFM.

A ‘substitute’ course is one that meets all of the following criteria. It:

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

A course may have other changes, or a number of small changes, which means it could be considered a ‘new’ course rather than a ‘substitute’ course. For example a new NZCED or qualification duration. Contact us to discuss your situation. We will consider these changes on a case by case basis.

If you require any assistance, please contact our Sector Helpdesk before entering the course in STEO.

Course change scenarios are set out below:

A TEO is... Outcome
using an approved course.

There are 'existing' courses.

You may increase the fee up to the AMFM.

changing an approved course but not:

  • NZQF level, or
  • funding category, or
  • total credits by less than five.

These are ‘substitute’ courses.

You may increase the fee up to the AMFM.

changing an approved course to:

  • NZQF level, or
  • total credits by five or more, or
  • funding category.

These are ‘new’ courses.

From 13 March 2019, you may set the fee no more than the 75th percentile from the range of fees charged for similar courses.  

establishing a new course.

 

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 (insert link), 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 for 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 THRESHOLD 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

Student allowances – paid practical work

Students that undertake paid practical work as part of their course of study are not entitled to any student allowance payments for the week(s) they undertake that work. It is important that you discuss this with your students.

For more information on student allowance entitlements and paid practical work please see StudyLink’s website.

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