An individual who has turned 19 years old and then in the following calendar year enrols or is enrolled in a school. This excludes students who are considered to require special education under the Education and Training Act 2020.
For example, if someone was at school and turned 19 years old on 31 March 2017, they will only be considered an adult learner for the period that they are enrolled at school from 2018 onwards.
A calendar year is the 12 month period from 1 January to 31 December.
The amount of Fees Free entitlement learners have left over after their first calendar year of study. This amount can be used in future years.
Compulsory course costs
Compulsory course costs are the fees charged by a provider for a course, on top of tuition fees. These include examination fees, material charges, costs of field trips, costs associated with the compulsory purchase of equipment or books and other charges associated with a course. These fees are covered by Fees Free. You may still need to pay other optional and occasional fees.
How much Fees Free entitlement learners have used.
The Non-Degree Delivery at Levels 3-7 on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework and all Industry Training (DQ3-7) fund is the dollar amount the Government pays towards the cost of teaching and learning services for learners enrolled in level 3-7 non-degree study and training at tertiary education organisations.
It is separate to the amount your TEO charges in fees and to your Fees Free entitlement.
The Delivery on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework at Levels 7 (Degree) and above (DQ7+) fund is the dollar amount the Government pays towards the cost of teaching and learning services for learners enrolled in degree and post-graduate level study at tertiary education organisations.
It is separate to the amount your TEO charges in fees and to your Fees Free entitlement.
The amount of Fees Free entitlement a Fees Free eligible learner is entitled to use.
Equivalent full-time student (EFTS)
We work out your study workload by using a measurement called EFTS. Usually, 0.125 EFTS is equivalent to 15 credits or points at a provider. One EFTS is usually equal to one year of full-time provider-based study.
- A person who holds a residence visa, granted between 15 March 2019 and 31 December 2024, through their relationship to holders of a Christchurch Response (2019) Permanent Resident Visa (or those who would have been eligible for a Christchurch Response (2019) Permanent Resident Visa but were already holding another residence visa); or
- A person who holds a residence visa through their relationship to persons granted refugee or protected person status who are holders of a residence class visa.
If you are unsure if this applies to you, contact Immigration New Zealand on 0508 558 855 for assistance. See the Immigration New Zealand website for more contact details.
Half a year of study or training
For Fees Free, half a year of study or training is usually equal to 60 credits or 0.5 EFTS (see the definition for EFTS for more information).
Industry-based training refers to workplace training and apprenticeships done on-the-job. From 2023, industry-based training is now referred to as work-based learning.
National Student Number (NSN)
A National Student Number (NSN) is a unique number given to every student. The NSN makes it easier for secondary schools and government agencies (including NZQA and TEC) to manage and share information about students in a way that protects their privacy.
Without an NSN, we cannot determine your eligibility for Fees Free. If you do not know your NSN, please contact the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) on 0800 697 296.
If you do not have an NSN, you should read the eligibility criteria to determine if you are eligible. If you meet the criteria, you will need to enrol with a tertiary organisation and come back to the Fees Free website to confirm your eligibility status with the TEC.
New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF)
The NZQCF is a record of all qualifications in New Zealand that have been reviewed and approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. The NZQCF provides information about what knowledge, skills and experience the holder of a qualification should have.
You can find more about the NZQCF and levels here.
The New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF) was previously known as the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).
Optional and occasional fees
These include (but are not limited to) student association and club memberships, some course materials and late fees. These fees are not covered by Fees Free.
Ordinarily resident means you normally and lawfully live in New Zealand, intend to stay here and consider New Zealand to be home.
A provider is any one of the following: Te Pūkenga, private training establishment, university, or wānanga.
Provider-based study is study done on-campus or online with a tertiary education organisation.
Refugee or protected person
According to Immigration New Zealand, broadly speaking:
A refugee is a person who:
- Is outside of his or her home country or country of habitual residence.
- Faces a real chance of being harmed if returned to that country.
- The harm faced is a sustained or systemic breach of a fundamental human right.
- The harm faced is for reasons of who the person is, or what they believe. The reasons may be race (or ethnicity), religion, political opinion, nationality or membership of a particular social group (such as family status, gender, or sexual orientation or identity).
- Needs and deserves protection in New Zealand.
A protected person is a person:
- Whose deportation from New Zealand would violate the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment 1984 (Convention against Torture) and/or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR).
- For whom there are substantial grounds for believing she or he would be in danger of torture, arbitrary deprivation of life or cruel treatment if deported from New Zealand.
The Immigration New Zealand website outlines situations where New Zealand is not obliged to protect a person.
Please see ‘Claiming Refugee and Protection Status in New Zealand’ for more information.
Residence class visa
Holders of a residence class visa are able to live and work permanently in New Zealand. Australian citizens, Australian residents or Australian permanent residents living in New Zealand are automatically given a residence class visa.
When we refer to school we mean either a secondary school, high school, or home school.
School learning programme
Any study at level 3 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF) that a learner participates in while enrolled in school where the school has approved that participation. The study may include tertiary education. It excludes study done for personal interest not arranged through a school.
Secondary tertiary programme
A full-time programme for a participating student that:
- consists of a secondary component and a tertiary component; and
- is co-ordinated by a provider group or a lead provider.
- Trades Academies
- Gateway, and
- the Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR).
If you were sponsored into New Zealand by someone in your family who was a refugee at the time you were sponsored, you're automatically considered to be holding a residence class visa.
For further information on sponsorship visit the Immigration New Zealand website:
A statutory declaration is a written document that must be signed in front of an authorised witness. In New Zealand an authorised witness can be a:
- Justice of the Peace (JP) - Find a JP
- barrister or solicitor - Find a lawyer
- notary public - Find a notary public, or
- Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District Court or the High Court - Find a District Court or High Court
For Fees Free, a statutory declaration is used to confirm that a learner meets the eligibility criteria for Fees Free.
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.
Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding
SAC is the dollar amount the Government pays towards the cost of teaching and learning services for learners enrolled at a tertiary education organisation (TEO). It is separate to the amount your TEO charges in fees and to your Fees Free entitlement.
SAC funding is no longer delivered as at 2023.
Student services fees
Student services fees may be used by providers to support the delivery of student services such as health care and student support. These fees are covered by Fees Free.
This was previously referred to as Compulsory Student Services Fees (CSSF).
Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF)
The Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), also known as free trades training, supported learners to undertake vocational education and training without fees between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2022. Study and training covered by TTAF during this time did not use a learner’s Fees Free entitlement.
Learners who were eligible for TTAF need to organise payment of their fees from 1 January 2023.
Tertiary education refers to study at Te Pūkenga, private training establishments, universities, and wānanga done on campus, online, or on-the-job.
For individuals who may have studied overseas, tertiary education refers to all post-compulsory education and training, including vocational, technical, or academic pathways.
Tertiary education organisation
Tertiary education organisations include:
- Te Pūkenga
- Private Training Establishments
Transitional Industry Training Organisation (ITO)
Transitional Industry Training Organisations manage work-based training and apprenticeships. By December 2022 all Transitional Industry Training Organisations will have transferred their role of arranging and supporting work-based learning to other providers (Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology, private training establishments (PTEs) and wānanga).
Tuition fees are the fees charged by a provider for a course.
Undertaken study and/or training
To have undertaken study or training, a learner has previously enrolled in tertiary education. For the purposes of Fees Free eligibility, this includes:
- study or training undertaken in New Zealand and overseas.
- part-time and full-time study or training
- workplace training and apprenticeships
- New Zealand study or training that pre-dates the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or New Zealand Qualifications and Credentials Framework (NZQCF)
- incomplete study or training, including where a learner withdrew after the refund period
- study or training that received a fail grade
- study or training as a domestic or international student
- study or training undertaken before 1 January 2023 that had no fees associated with it, and
- study or training that you may have accessed a student loan for or paid yourself.
Learn more about prior study and training here.
Withdrawing from study or training
A “withdrawal” is when a learner stops participating in a course, programme or credential (regardless of whether they have been refunded any fees), either:
- by providing notice to their organisation that they wish to withdraw participation, or
- as a result of non-attendance or non-participation for any reason.
Work-based learning is training done through the workplace or on-the-job and includes apprenticeships.
Work-based learning was previously called industry-based training.
Zero fee course
For the purposes of Fees Free eligibility and entitlement settings, a “zero fee course” is a course that:
- is funded by the New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission,
- starts on or after 1 January 2023, and
- has no tuition fees and no compulsory course costs for any learner enrolled in the course.
This does not include:
- courses that have fees, but the fees were paid by a scholarship, student loan, employer, or another zero fees scheme (unless otherwise specified),
- free courses undertaken overseas,
- courses that you have withdrawn from and been granted a full or partial fee refund for, and
- courses that have zero tuition fees, but do have compulsory course costs associated with the course.
A 2018 Starter is an eligible learner who used some or all of their Fees Free entitlement in the 2018 calendar year.
This includes eligible learners who did training through Māori and Pasifika Trades Training in 2018.
A 2019 Starter is an eligible learner who used some or all of their Fees Free entitlement in the 2019 calendar year.
This includes eligible learners who did training through Māori and Pasifika Trades Training or undertook level 3 Youth Guarantee study in 2019.
A 2020 Starter is an eligible learner who used some or all of their Fees Free entitlement in the 2020 calendar year.
A 2021 Starter is an eligible learner who used some or all of their Fees Free entitlement in the 2021 calendar year.
A 2022 Starter is an eligible learner who used some or all of their Fees Free entitlement in the 2022 calendar year.