Youth Guarantee Fund

Youth Guarantee Fund

Last updated 11 December 2020
Last updated 11 December 2020

Youth Guarantee initiatives improve the transition from school to work by providing a wider range of learning opportunities, making better use of the education network, and creating clear pathways from school to work and study.

The Youth Guarantee Fund is part of a wider  suite of initiatives that includes Vocational Pathways and Secondary-Tertiary Programmes (such as Trades Academies). These initiatives provide opportunities for students to achieve a minimum of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) level 2 or equivalent, to enable progression to higher levels of study, training or employment. More information on the wider Youth Guarantee programmes is available from the Ministry of Education or at


The Youth Guarantee Fund provides fees-free tertiary education for students aged 16-19 years who have no or low prior qualification achievement. Students may study towards:

  • NCEA level 1 and 2 aligned to the Vocational Pathways
  • another qualification at level 1 or 2 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), which is intended to enable students to progress to higher-level education or employment, or
  • a qualification at level 3 on the NZQF, particularly if the student:
    • has no or low (level 1) prior achievement before enrolling in Youth Guarantee, or
    • has achieved level 1 or 2 qualification(s) through Youth Guarantee and is progressing to a level 3 Youth Guarantee qualification during their two equivalent full-time student (EFTS) Youth Guarantee entitlement.

See Condition: Student eligibility under Use of YG Fund Funding for eligible students.

Key Changes from January 2020

For 2020, we will allocate the 20% funding premium for the level 1 and 2 qualifications in your level 1 and 2 commitment

We will allocate the YG premium based on your level 1 and 2 commitments in your 2020 Mix of Provision (MoP) file.

No recovery for over-payment of YG premium will be requested for 2020 delivery during calendar 2020, in recognition of the effects of the Covid-19 situation.

However; from 2021 at the end of the year, we will calculate your final delivery (including the premium relating to actual delivery at levels 1 and 2) against your total YG allocation including the premium and recovery if you were over-paid.

We will adjust your premium allocation, if required, due to other significant plan changes

Significant plan changes during the year may affect the amount of level 1 and 2 premium required, for example if we have agreed a change in the total allocated, or there is a change in the distribution of your commitments within the allocation. If necessary, we will recalculate and adjust your premium allocation.

We will carefully review your submitted Mix of Provision to ensure we allocate the correct amount

We will monitor closely to ensure you allocate accurately as agreed with TEC in your Mix of Provision (MoP).  This includes any changes agreed within the year. We will only accept and approve the MoP if the commitment is within the MoP tolerance of $11,000 and the distribution of the funding is in line what was agreed and approved by the TEC. MoPs must be submitted in a timely matter.

We will take into account previous delivery patterns, and any specific agreements you have with us regarding changes to your MoP.

Key changes from January 2019 (summarised)

Change to equivalent full-time student (EFTS) definition for Youth Guarantee levels 1 and 2 qualifications

From 2019, we recognise 100 credits as a full-time, full-year workload for a student enrolled in a level 1 or 2 Youth Guarantee qualification (rather than 120 credits). Delivery towards level 1 and 2 qualifications will attract a funding premium payment of 20% after each SDR submission.

No system or reporting changes are required from this change. See Enrolment, Funding and payments, and Monitoring and reporting for more information.

Change to student eligibility funding condition (February 2019) Where a student is enrolled in level 1, 2 and/or level 3 qualifications, we will continue to fund up to 120 credits worth of delivery towards those qualifications in a calendar year, the same as in 2018.

You must not enroll a student in more than:

  • 1.2 EFTS (120 credits) of level 1 and/or 2 Youth Guarantee qualification provision in a calendar year; and
  • 1.0 EFTS (120 credits) of level 3 Youth Guarantee qualification provision in a calendar year.

For more information see: Student eligibility funding condition and 2019 Youth Guarantee changes

Also see Funding, and Funding calculation, on the Funding and payments page for more information.

Key changes from January 2018 (summarised)

Two EFTS entitlement to Youth Guarantee

From 2018, you must not enrol a student in Youth Guarantee if the student:

  • has already received two EFTS of Youth Guarantee provision; or
  • would exceed two EFTS worth of Youth Guarantee provision during the period of proposed enrolment.

See Condition: Student eligibility under Use of YG Fund Funding for eligible students.

Learning hours

We have clarified our requirements for entering learning hours information into the Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) learning hours fields. See Learning hours, under Duration, under Information about qualifications on the Qualifications and courses page.

Recognition of prior learning / prior achievement

We have better aligned our information with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s (NZQA’s) guidelines. See Recognition of learning / prior achievement on the Enrolment, and Funding and payments pages.


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Interactions with TTAF and Fees Free

Youth Guarantee interaction with Fees Free

If a learner enrols in Youth Guarantee (YG) on or after 1 July 2020 their YG  training will no longer count towards the use of a learner’s Fees Free entitlement, or count as prior study. This means learners will not be disadvantaged by being enrolled in Youth Guarantee initiatives. 

If a learner has completed a Youth Guarantee course, and goes on to further study are they eligible for Fees Free?

  • This will depend on when the learner started and completed their YG course.
YG course start/end date Outcome
Starts between 1 January and 31 December 2018 This study will not count towards the use of a learner’s fees-free entitlement.
Starts on, or after, 1 January 2019, and ends prior to 30 June 2020 This study will count towards the use of a learner's fees-free entitlement.
Starts on, or after, 1 January 2020 and continues after 1 July 2020 See table below.
Starts on, or after, 1 July 2020 The study will not count towards the use of a learner's fees-free entitlement.
  • This table shows the proportion of a course that does count towards a learner’s fees-fee entitlement use. 
Course start date Percentage of course post 1 July Proportion of course that counts towards entitlement use
1 January - 30 April 2020 Less than 50% 100%
1 January - 30 April 2020 50% to less than 75% 50%
1 January - 30 April 2020 75% or more 0%
1 May - 30 June 2020 33% or more 0%
1 May - 30 June 2020 Less than 33% 100%
  • YG courses that started on or after 1 July 2020 will not be counted towards a learner's fees-free entitlement.
  • Therefore, if a learner enrols in a YG course that started on or after 1 July 2020, this study will not impact their eligibility for Fees Free tertiary education, under current policy settings. If the learner has previously accessed Fees Free, and has remaining entitlement, they will be able to use this at a later date (should they meet the criteria applicable at the time of enrolment in further study).

Prior study rules for YG from 1 July 2020

Will YG study be included in a learner’s prior study when determining eligibility for Fees Free?

  • To be eligible for Fees Free, a learner must not have undertaken more than half a year of equivalent full-time tertiary education (0.5 equivalent full-time student (EFTS) or 60 credits) at level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), including tertiary education at an equivalent level undertaken in any country; known as the prior study criteria.
  • Credits obtained from YG courses that start on, or after 1 July 2020 will no longer be included as part of the 60 credits of prior study criteria. 
  • Refer to the above table for interactions between YG and Fees Free.

Any YG study that started before 1 July 2020 will continue to be included in prior study calculations for fees-free eligibility.

Learners will not need to apply to the TEC for the changes to be reflected in their fees-free entitlements. However, it will take time for the TEC to process the changes and for them to be reflected in an individual’s fees-free entitlement information. 

YG interaction with TTAF

This section provides guidance on how to enrol and report on learners at Level 3 and above in YG fund with the introduction of Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) on 1 July 2020:

What does the introduction of TTAF, and the change to Fees Free, mean for YG?

  • We expect a learner that would have been enrolled as a YG learner in the past, will continue to be enrolled through YG whilst there are places available, rather than TTAF. This is because the YG Fund offers additional resources and pastoral care to learners that require it.
  • TTAF study does not use up fees-free entitlements, and will not count as prior study in relation to any future fees-free entitlement.
  • Changes to the Fees Free rules mean that YG enrolments after 1 July 2020 will no longer count towards a learner’s fees-free entitlement or count as prior study. This means learners will not be disadvantaged by being enrolled in YG with respect to their fees-free eligibility.
  • The TEC will include reviewing enrolment source of funding (SOF) codes in its monitoring activity. 

If we enrol a learner in TTAF instead of YG, what is the TEC’s position on this?

If you choose to:

  • enrol a learner under SAC Level 3 and above, in a TTAF eligible programme; and
  • prior to TTAF being available you would have ordinarily enrolled that learner under YG (SOF 28,29);
  • you are required to support this learner in the same way that you would have supported them via YG.  
  • you will be required to self-fund this same level of support that would have been provided had those learners been enrolled in YG. No additional funding will be provided for this support. This requirement can be found in your funding agreement at clause 40(c).  

The Ministry of Education are considering the impact of TTAF on YG settings for learners and Tertiary Education Organisations. Any changes will be communicated following the Minister’s agreement to any changes to the YG funding parameters.