Monitoring update: March 2020

Monitoring update: March 2020

Last updated 13 March 2020
Last updated 13 March 2020

This update includes information about New Compulsory Student Service Fees (CSSF) Ministerial Direction; Updated tertiary education institute (TEI) governance guide; and COVID-19 (corornavirus) information

At the TEC, we gather a range of information about common issues through our monitoring activities. We’re committed to partnering with tertiary education organisations, and sharing learnings from our monitoring work to help the sector build capability so we can all achieve better outcomes for learners.

New CSSF Ministerial Direction and guidance document

A reminder that the Minister of Education issued a new Ministerial Direction on Compulsory Student Services Fees (PDF 173 KB) (CSSFs) in 2019.

We have updated our website and produced guidance (PDF 2.1 MB) for you to understand and comply with these requirements, including an example of what to include in your annual CSSF report.

The new Ministerial Direction requires more detailed reporting, so your annual report will need to detail the types of services offered within the different CSSF categories. This improves visibility of the services funded via the CSSF. Please ensure you capture this additional detail in your 2019 annual report.

CSSF information available on provider websites

The new Ministerial Direction also adds the requirement for providers to publish core CSSF information on their websites.

This requirement was originally introduced as a funding condition in 2017, and while most providers have basic CSSF information, such as the fee amount and services it funds, improvements can be made across the board to improve transparency in the fee-setting arrangements. It should be clear how the current fee and services were determined, and students should be well informed about how they can provide feedback or engage in future CSSF decision-making.

Fees Free and CSSFs

As part of Fees Free reporting to the TEC, TEOs are required to self-attest that they comply with the CSSF Ministerial Direction. We review all CSSFs to verify whether they comply with these requirements.

This is particularly important as we won’t make fees-free payments for CSSFs that relate to eligible learners if you are not compliant with the Ministerial Direction.

If you receive “Query” messages for any CSSF entry in your Fees Free reporting, please email to discuss the fee.

TEI Governance Guide updates

In December 2019 we released a revamped and updated version of the Governance Guide.

The Guide provides council members of tertiary education institutions (TEIs) with an introduction to the tertiary education sector.  It provides information for everyone interested in the contribution of good governance to organisational sustainability and effective performance.

The Guide also includes the legislative framework for TEIs and their councils, information on key central agencies, an overview of the Tertiary Education Strategy, the Investment Plan process, and information on accountability and performance monitoring of TEIs.

The online version of this Guide includes hyperlinks to relevant legislation, eg, sections of the Education Act 1989.

You will find the latest version of the Guide on the Tertiary Education Commission website.

A new version of the Guide will be available when the changes in the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill come into effect on 1 April 2020.

Your comments and suggestions are valuable. Any feedback can be emailed to

COVID-19 information

The TEC is working closely with other education agencies, peak bodies and education provider representatives to support the sector and to ensure tertiary education providers get the latest information on COVID-19.

We are closely monitoring the potential financial impacts on the sector of both the current travel restrictions and potential future scenarios. Please engage with us directly if you have any concerns about your financial position over the short and medium term.

We advise students, their families and whānau, and providers to keep updated on education developments through the Ministry of Education’s website.

Tertiary education sector information on COVID-19 can be found on the TEC’s website.

For health advice, please refer to the Ministry of Health’s website.

You can get COVID-19 information from government agencies in one location on the New Zealand Government’s website.