Changes to Student Loans and Allowances

Student Loan changes for students aged 55 years and over

From 1 January 2013, people aged 55 years and over will no longer be eligible for living costs or course-related costs. They will only be eligible for the compulsory fees component of the Student Loan.

Students who are over 55 as at the announcement date (19 May 2011), or who will reach 55 before 1 January 2013, will continue to be eligible for all components of the Student Loan for the qualification they were enrolled in on the date of the announcement (19 May 2011), until they complete this qualification or until 1 January 2015, whichever is earlier.

There is no change to Student Allowance eligibility or criteria for these students. Those aged 55 years and over will continue to be eligible for a Student Allowance provided they meet all other criteria.

Students are not eligible for a Student Allowance or Student Loan living costs if they are receiving support through New Zealand Superannuation or Veterans Pension.

Student Loan changes for part-time full-year students

For study starting on or after 1 January 2012, part-time full-year students will no longer be entitled to borrow the course-related costs component of the Student Loan.

Currently students who were studying part-time for 32 weeks or more have remained eligible for assistance with their course-related costs through the Student Loan scheme.

For study starting on or after 1 January 2012 all students will need to be studying full-time or limited full-time with StudyLink's approval regardless of the length of their course to be eligible for this component.

Restricting student loan eligibility for borrowers with $500 or more in default

From 7 February 2013, students won’t be able to borrow through the Student Loan Scheme if they have $500 or more in default at the time of their application, and at least some portion of that amount has been overdue for a year or more.

This will apply to all new applications made from 7 February 2013.

Requirement to nominate a contact person for new Student Loan applications

For study starting on or after 1 January 2013, all students applying for a new Student Loan will be required to nominate a New Zealand based contact person (someone who resides in New Zealand) as a condition of accessing the Student Loan Scheme. They will need to provide a contact name and phone number as well as an address and/or email address.

This will allow Inland Revenue to make contact with an alternative person to try and get the student's up-to-date contact details if they have not met their repayment obligations.

Exempting sponsored family members of “protected persons” from the two-year stand-down for Student Allowance and Student Loan

For study starting on or after 1 January 2012, people who are sponsored into New Zealand by a family member with protected person status will be exempt from the two-year stand-down that applies to Australian citizens and New Zealand residents who apply for Student Allowances and Loans.

Last updated: 21 January 2016