Monitoring update: December 2023

Monitoring update: December 2023

Last updated 4 December 2023
Last updated 4 December 2023

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

This update includes information about:

  • Fees Free 2024
  • Student service fees compliance guide update
  • Employer-Led Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund (EWLN) system review.

Fees Free 2024 is now live

In case you missed it – learners can now check their eligibility for Fees Free in 2024 by entering their National Student Number in the eligibility tool at For full, updated eligibility criteria for 2024, see Eligibility criteria and what Fees Free covers.

TEOs should not generate statutory declarations on a learner’s behalf

As a reminder, learners should generate their statutory declaration form themselves on the Fees Free website. TEOs should not generate a statutory declaration on behalf of any learners.

If, in exceptional circumstances, a learner needs assistance to generate a statutory declaration, ensure they are involved in the whole process. In particular, you must provide the learner with the terms and conditions, alongside the statutory declaration form, to ensure they fully understand the declaration they are making. A statutory declaration is not an “application” to check a learner’s eligibility – a learner needs to know they meet all of the eligibility criteria before making a statutory declaration.

TEO staff also need to be familiar with and understand the Fees Free criteria, including any changes each year. This ensures learners receive accurate advice about Fees Free, including the eligibility criteria. If a learner or TEO staff member are unsure whether the learner meets the Fees Free eligibility criteria, the learner should contact for guidance.

TEOs should not advise learners to complete a Fees Free statutory declaration if there is any uncertainty about whether they meet all of the Fees Free eligibility criteria, e.g. if a learner or TEO is unsure whether prior study (including study undertaken overseas) would make a learner ineligible for Fees Free, they should not continue with generating a statutory declaration. Learners should contact TEC to discuss if any prior study will impact their eligibility for Fees Free, as it is an offence under the Education and Training Act 2020 and the Crimes Act 1961 to give any altered, false, incomplete, or misleading information or to make a false statement or declaration. The consequence of making a false statutory declaration falls on the learner who signed the declaration, not the TEO.

Please check you are providing accurate, up-to-date information about Fees Free

Your Fees Free agreement states that you must ensure that any information about Fees Free you provide to learners, employers, or other third parties, including information published on your website, is accurate and up to date. 

Now is the time to please check the information on your website and update any outdated content. To help you to meet this condition we recommend that you use material in the Fees Free marketing toolkit. If we identify inaccurate or outdated information on your website, we will ask you to change it.

Student services fees compliance guide update

Since 1 January 2023, student services fees (SSFs) are regulated through funding conditions determined by the Minister of Education and administered by the TEC. Funding conditions outline the rules that TEOs must follow when receiving TEC funding. All TEOs that charge SSFs and are funded by the TEC need to comply with the conditions relating to SSFs.

During the year the Minister consulted on and then approved some changes to fee regulation settings for 2024. For SSFs this focused on strengthening expectations and reporting on how TEOs consult learners on the use of student services fees. The changes include:

  • making TEOs legal obligations when consulting with learners explicit in fee regulations;
  • requiring TEOs to publish information about how learner feedback influenced decision-making; and
  • requiring TEOs to publish information (already reported to the TEC) about the expenditure from SSFs on each category of student services.

We have updated our SSF guidance for TEOs to reflect these changes, which will take effect from 1 January 2024. See the updated SSF guidance.

Please ensure that your organisation complies with the funding conditions and requirements as set out in the guidance. We monitor compliance on a regular basis and if we identify breaches of funding conditions, we may take steps including suspending funding until issues are resolved.  

If you have any questions about SSF requirements, contact us at

Employer-Led Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund (EWLN) review

The TEC invests approximately $5 million each year into the Employer-Led Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund (EWLN). This fund contributes to workplace productivity by supporting employers to increase their employee’s literacy and numeracy skills. However, as employers are not tertiary education organisations, they are not routinely audited.

In order to better understand the use of this fund, we conducted a review of EWLN funded employers and provision to:

  • provide assurance that employers were using funding in accordance with the funding conditions, therefore giving effect to the intent of the fund; and
  • consider whether existing monitoring arrangements are fit for purpose, or a different approach is warranted.

To do this, we conducted targeted audits across a sample of employers that receive EWLN funding, to assess reviewed compliance with funding conditions.

The audits found that most employers fully complied with the funding conditions imposed on them.

There were instances of minor non-compliance, but nothing that suggested wider, commonplace, or systemic issues. Examples included:

  • EWLN-funded employers not verifying learner eligibility in accordance with funding conditions when they already knew the learner and
  • incomplete reporting and delivery outside the prescribed intensity of 40 hours over a 10–40-week period.

Our review also identified many examples of good practice, including good use of the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool to determine learners’ initial literacy and numeracy needs and to measure their progress. Overall, employers submitted the required reports on time and included clear information about the changes in productivity and personal outcomes for employees as a result of their training.