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Who is able to get Fees Free?

Fees Free is for New Zealand residents starting tertiary education or training for the first time. If you have never done more than half a year of tertiary education, then you may be eligible!

To check if you are eligible, go to the Fees Free website and enter your National Student Number (NSN) on the homepage. If you have an NZQA Learner Login, you can also check your eligibility status here.

If you are not sure what your NSN is, you can either ask your school or call the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) on 0800 697 296.

If your eligibility check says ‘Maybe’, you will need to check the eligibility criteria and answer the questions to find out if you are eligible.

Can I access Fees Free while I'm in school?

Tertiary study done as part of a school programme or secondary-tertiary programme, such as the Student Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) or Trades Academies, will not count towards your Fees Free entitlement, or affect your eligibility.

However, from 2019 if you do tertiary study outside of your school learning programme, then you will start using your Fees Free entitlement as a part-time tertiary student.

How do I access first-year Fees Free?

If your eligibility status is ‘yes’, which should be the case for most school leavers with three years of New Zealand residency, then all you need to do is enrol in your course or industry training programme and your tertiary provider will seek fee payments from the Tertiary Education Commission, instead of you.

If your eligibility status is ‘maybe’, then you will need to fill out a form called a statutory declaration to confirm you meet all the requirements, including residency requirements. 

To find the eligibility requirements for Fees Free, check out the Fees Free website.

What fees will be covered by Fees Free?

Provider-based study

Provider-based study is when you study directly at the place where you will get the qualification from, which includes study at a university, NZIST, wānanga or private training establishment (PTE). Find out if your course is Fees Free.

If you are eligible for Fees Free and do provider-based study then you will get your first year of study Fees Free! This covers:

  • tuition fees
  • compulsory course costs; and
  • compulsory student services fees.

If you study part-time, or do less than 120 credits of study in our first year and the fees are less than $12,000 then you may have some left-over Fees Free to carry-over into future years. 

You cannot use your Fees Free entitlement to pay any optional and occasional fees. Things like students’ association and club memberships, some course materials, and late fees will not be covered.

Industry training

If you are eligible for Fees Free and enrol in an industry training programme that has a minimum 120 credits on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), then you can receive Fees Free for training and assessments for the first two years of your training programme. This includes all apprenticeships.

If you are eligible for Fees Free and decide to enrol in an industry training programme made up of less than 120 credits, for example some barista training or lifeguard training, do not worry – these credits will not count against your Fees Free entitlement, or affect your eligibility.

Note: Some apprenticeships are now fees-free for people able to reside and work in New Zealand through the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) from 1 July 2020 until 31 December 2022. This will not affect your eligibility for Fees Free support or count towards your Fees Free entitlement. 

The Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF)

From 1 July 2020 until 31 December 2022, some apprenticeships and targeted study at a tertiary education provider, such as construction, community support and primary industries, will be fees-free through the TTAF. These include:

  • Primary industries, including agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, fisheries and forestry
  • Construction, including building, plumbing, and civil engineering
  • Community support, including youth work, care for elderly, care for people with disabilities and community health
  • Manufacturing and mechanical engineering, and technology
  • Electrical engineering; and
  • Road transport (vehicle operations).

If you access TTAF-eligible study or training and you are also eligible for first-year Fees Free, the study or training undertaken as part of the TTAF will not affect your Fees Free entitlement. You’ll still be able to use this at a later date for future study or training.

Who can access the TTAF?

If you have a New Zealand resident or special status and you are eligible for government tuition subsidies then you can access the TTAF!

If this is the case, TTAF will cover the cost of your fees from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2022.

How do I access the TTAF?

You do not need to apply to access the TTAF, all you need to do is enrol in an eligible programme you want to study. 

You can contact tertiary education providers to find out about enrolment options in areas that interest you. Tertiary providers’ websites have information on what is delivered in your area and any other requirements for enrolling.

Information about courses is also available on the careers website.